Bengali New Year to be celebrated in St. John's on Friday, and all are welcome

Friday is Bengali New Year, and members of the St. John's Bangladeshi community are holding a food and craft fair at the Comfort Inn — and anyone is invited to come.

Bengali New Year, or Pahela Baishakh, is celebrated April 14 as the traditional first day of the Bengali calendar. This year it just happens to fall on the Christian holiday Good Friday.

Jamil Hossain – who organized the event – said much of the it will centre around traditional Bengali food, something that might be unfamiliar to many in the province.

"Everybody thinks 'Oh Indian sub-continental food means butter chicken and rice and those things," he told the St. John's Morning Show. "We are part of the Indian subcontinent too, but we have our own snacks."

The New Year celebration will run from 12-4 p.m. at the Comfort Inn on Airport Road, and will also feature stalls with games, clothing and more. Admission is $5.

Hossain said it will be an expression of Bengali culture and food, a chance for the local Bangladeshi community to come together and also a chance for Newfoundlanders to experience Bengali culture.

Festival of food and games

The celebrations are a big deal in Bangladesh. Hossain hopes they can capture some of that same spirit.

"Back home it's an all day festival, we dress up in white and red shirts, long clothing. We are all day out picking up different foods, and going to different games," he said.

"It's sort of like your Regatta. We go to a particular place and there's a big festival going on, you're picking up different food and gambling."