Dhaka, Bangladesh (BBN)- The nation is celebrating Pahela Baishakh, the first day of the Bangla New Year 1420, with traditional fervour and gaiety on Sunday.
Thousands of people in Dhaka congregated at Ramna Batamul, the main venue of the celebrations, at sunrise as Chhayanaut, which has been observing the day since 1965, greeted the Bengali New Year rendering songs of Rabindranath Tagore.
Dhaka University’s Fine Arts Institute brought out a ‘Mangal Shobhajatra’, a procession seeking wellbeing for all, with its marchers wearing traditional dresses and colorful masks parade the campus.
The government has taken special security measures to enable people to celebrate Pahela Baishakh without any untoward incident.  Some 12,500 police and RAB personnel have been posted in the capital to ensure the safety of the New Year revelers.
Pahela Baishakh is being celebrated at 30-35 venues in the capital Dhaka, including the main venue Ramna Batamul and Dhanmondi Rabindra Sarobor.
The day is a public holiday. 
Socio-political and cultural organisations are celebrating the day with various programs.
On the occasion, acting President Abdul Hamid and Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina in their separate messages greeted the nation.
In 2001, the nation saw an unexpected tragedy when an explosion at Ramna Batamul during Pahela Baishakh celebrations killed at least 10 people.
People in other cities and district towns also gathered in their respective cultural hubs to take part in the celebrations and attend fairs.
People in rural Bangladesh observe the day visiting fairs and folk performances and exchanging pleasantries. Traders in rural areas and also in small towns open new ledgers settling the accounts of the year gone by.
Ethnic groups in the hill tracts also celebrate the New Year through a programme known as `Baisabi’ in their own fashion. 
The state-owned BTV, Bangladesh Betar (radio), and private television channels broadcast special programmes and the newspapers brought out special supplements marking the day.
Mughal Emperor Akbar introduced the tradition of celebrating the Bangla New Year in relation to closing of the annual tax collection. Traditionally, traders and shopkeepers open “halkhata” (new account register) on the day and serve sweetmeats to clients.
BBN/SSR/AD-14Apr13-5:50 pm (BST)