A Mexico City borough announced Tuesday that Latin America's most famous re-enactment of the crucifixion of Christ will be closed to the public for the first time in 177 years to prevent the spread of coronavirus.
The lavish, detailed Easter-week Passion of Christ has been played out in the east-side borough of Iztapalapa since 1843, and in recent years has drawn a week-long total of about 2 million spectators.
But due to fears about the spread of the new coronavirus, Iztapalapa borough president Clara Brugada said that for the first time the event will be held in private with no spectators.
Brugada said the Passion of Christ will be re-enacted indoors with a smaller cast and will be "symbolic." All the actors are required by tradition to be borough residents.
Brugada said the event will be transmitted live so people can watch it at home. Ironically, the passion was first performed in 1843 after a cholera outbreak threatened the then-rural hamlet.
Iztapalapa was long ago swallowed by the urban growth of Mexico City. The Passion normally includes huge processions, public re-enactments with huge casts, culminating in the Good Friday re-enactment of the crucifixion in which ropes and a small ledge are used to guarantee the actors' safety.
Marking the birth centenary of Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, a special programme titled ‘Muktir Mahanayak’ (Great Hero of Freedom) was aired on all the television channels of Bangladesh on Tuesday night.
Amid the fear of the coronavirus pandemic, the programme was aired as a recorded version.
The two-hour festivity started with fireworks, marking the moment when Bangabandhu was born on March 17, 1920.
Opening the show, 100 children sang the National Anthem and ‘Dhonno Mujib Dhonno’, a song dedicated to the Father of the Nation.
Later, 100 renowned Bangladeshi singers performed the theme song of the ‘Mujib Borsho’ along with Bangabandhu’s youngest daughter Sheikh Rehana.
Along with the speeches of President Abdul Hamid and Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, the programme featured video messages from Nepal's President Bidhya Devi Bhandari, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Prime Minister of Bhutan Lotay Tshering, Secretary-General of the United Nations António Guterres and OIC Secretary General Dr Yousef Al Othaimeen.
PM Sheikh Hasina recited a poem along with her sister Sheikh Rehana, commemorating fond memories with their father Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman.
Bangladesh Shilpakala Academy (BSA) orchestrated a special performance to portray Bangabandhu's eventful life through a 45-minute theatrical choreographic performance on the life of Bangabandhu titled ‘Shotabdir Mahanayak’, featuring 1,000 artistes.
The performance was planned, directed and choreographed by BSA Director General Liaquat Ali Lucky. Eminent cultural personality Asaduzzaman Noor recited poems on the background of this performance as the narrator.
A troupe of 100 musicians rendered a musical tribute orchestrated by musician Foad Nasser Babu.
Renowned British-Bangladeshi choreographer Akram Khan and company staged a special theatrical performance titled ‘Father: Vision of the floating world’.
The show ended with all 1,000 artists singing the song ‘Joy Mujiber Joy’, and a special lasers show following fireworks, live telecast from the South Plaza of Jatiya Sangsad Bhaban.
Cinema halls all over Bangladesh are going into lockdown mode from March 18 to April 2 amid the COVID-19 pandemic, Bangladesh Film Producers-Distributors Association President Khorshed Alam Khosru announced on Monday.
While asked about the ongoing crisis and possibilities of a nationwide shutting down of the cinema halls, Khosru told UNB that the association has decided to close all the halls until April 2.
“As the virus passes from human to human in close proximity, people inside crowded cinema halls are at a higher risk to be contaminated with the virus, so we decided not to continue the shows in any of the halls including the cineplexes from March 18 to April 2,” Khosru told UNB.
If the crisis continues, the longevity of the decision can get extended until the situation gets normal – he further added.
The current line up of Black, held together by just one original member, nevertheless enthralled fans who showed up for an intimate gig at the Yamaha Music Bangladesh outlet at Jamuna Future Park. Arranged by Yamaha Music Bangladesh, a concern of ACI Motors Limited, the musical session titled ‘Black: Live at YMB’ also featured three other bands - Olik, Encore and Level Five.
Black stepped on stage as the headliners after the underground rockers grooved the audiences, and played several of their most popular tracks including Amar Prithibi, Mittha, Manush Pakhir Gaan, Roder Vetor Rod and many more.
“We thank our fans who came here out of love for Bangladeshi band music, even at this crucial time. Gratitude to Yamaha Music Bangladesh for inviting us to play for our fans,” Rubayet Chowdhury, vocalist and guitarist of Black said at the event.
Along with Rubayet, the current lineup of the band features Bass – Charlz Amit Francis (Bass Guitar), Farhan Tanveer (Drums) and the longtime and only remaining founding member Khademul Jahan (Lead Guitar).
Speaking about the musical venture, ACI Motors Limited’s Digital Marketing Executive Muhib Faysal Lincon said, “From the beginning, we wanted to invite Black, one of the legendary bands in Bangladesh since the 90’s which has contributed greatly to Bangladeshi music industry with so many hit numbers we all love and cherish in our hearts - and we are happy to see today’s crowd reaction.”
Regarding the initiative, another performing band Level Five’s drummer Sadmaan Guppu Asif said “We highly appreciate Yamaha Music Bangladesh’s venture to support Bangladeshi band music. Many of the bands including ours, we use quality musical instruments made by Yamaha, and through arranging these events they are promoting the culture along with supporting us, the musicians for the greater good.”
Yamaha Music Bangladesh started these sessions first back in October, 2019 at its showroom located at the East court, 4th Floor, in JFP.