Some East Yorkers celebrate the new year in the dead of winter, on Jan. 1. But Bengali East Yorkers marked the start of their new year amid the warmer weather this spring, and the Harmony Hall Centre for Seniors on Gower Avenue hosted a fair for them. Hundreds of local Bengali people visited and enjoyed the atmosphere celebrating the beginning of the year 1420 on the Bengali calendar.
The event also served as a fundraising program for seniors’ welfare. The funds are raised by renting out stalls to help pay for special events and trips for seniors throughout the year.
“This is the sixth year of our celebration. The event is organized by the Harmony Hall, but it’s not only just a program for the seniors, it’s an event for the whole Bengali community,” said Afsana Chowdhury, assistant coordinator for Harmony Hall.
Hundreds of people thronged the venue to see the daylong program on April 14. Crescent Town Club, Harmony Hall and Thorncliffe Nieghbourhood workers also took part in the event.
“I like this event. This is my first time to attend a Bengali program. It’s a real reflection of the Bengali culture,” said Khadiza Mubarak, a student and volunteer for the event.
Nazmun Naher Begum, a Centennial College ECA student and a volunteer in the Thorncliffe Neighborhood Office, helped run things. She has been volunteering at Thorncliffe Neighbourhood since coming to Canada in 2011.
“I feel pleasure to be part of this celebration. I remember celebrations of the Bengali New Year back home,” said Begum. “I’m also happy that I’m volunteering for the welfare of the seniors.”
Meanwhile, the local young Bengali community held a colourful rally on Danforth Avenue. Hundreds of people joined the festival.