Google
By Joseph Hincks
April 14, 2017

Google‘s new Doodle Friday featured a parade of colorful banners in the shape of an owl, tiger and the sun, in celebration of Pohela Boishakh, the first day of the Bengali calendar.

The revelry in the Doodle depicts the annual Mangal Shobhajatra procession through the country’s capital Dhaka. During the parade, colorful masks of tigers, owls and other creatures native to Bangladesh are hoisted above the celebrating crowds. Although each animal has its own symbolic meaning, collectively they are said to inspire courage and promote peace, according to Google.

The festival is one of celebration, but Pohela Boishakh has pragmatic beginnings.

It began with Emperor Akbar, who developed the Bengali calendar over 400-years-ago as he extended Mughal control over much of what is now modern day Bangladesh. Originally the new calendar was intended as a way to instigate uniform tax collection across the land.

To this day on Pohela Boishakh, Bengali accountants close their books on the old year and usher in the new one.

Shubho Noboborsho! (Happy New Year!)

Write to Joseph Hincks at joseph.hincks@timeinc.com.

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