Mangal Shobhajatra becomes UNESCO heritage

UNESCO recognized the Mangal Shobhajatra, the annual Bangla New Year procession, as Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity.

The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) announced it on Wednesday, at the 11th session of the Inter-governmental Committee on Safeguarding Intangible Cultural Heritage held in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

The UNESCO committee noted that Mangal Shobhajatra, organized by the teachers and the students of Dhaka University’s Faculty of Fine Arts to celebrate the first day of Bengali New Year, symbolizes the pride of the people of Bangladesh.

They mentioned that it is a living heritage of the country and it also symbolizes their strength and courage to fight sinister forces, and their vindication of truth and justice.
“The inclusion of Mangal Shovajatra in the list of cultural heritage of humanity is the result of the Government’s proactive cultural diplomacy, reads the statement adding it will help reinforce Bangladesh’s image as a secular state,” said a statement by the UNESCO.

Mongol Shobhajatra is an integral part of Pahela Boishakh, the first day of Bangla New Year.

It is a procession featuring large colorful masks, animal-shaped life sized carnival floats and other elements of Bangladeshi culture.

The Dhaka University’s Faculty of Arts organizes the procession every year, begun in the early 1980s.

It has now become a part and parcel of the ‘Pahela Baishakh’ celebrations.