Pahela Baishakh: Happy Bengali New Year!


On Thursday, April 12, 2018, contributing writer, Moraima Bambaren, joins young professionals at the Embassy of Bangladesh for a ThingstodoDC Culture event that celebrates Pahela Baishakh, the traditional New Year day of the Bengali people. 

I was lucky enough to attend Pahela Baishakh, the traditional New Year Festival of Bangladesh, held at Embassy of Bangladesh (3510 International Dr NW, Washington, DC 20008). As part of my New Year’s resolution to take full advantage of all the cultural events DC has to offer, I knew the Embassy of Bangladesh would be a great start!

I learned so much about the culture and  even learned how to say Happy New Year or Shubho Nabobarsho!

This year’s Pahela Baishakh will be celebrated on April 14 in Bangladesh and on April 15th in the Indian states of West Bengal and Tripura. The festival is traditionally celebrated with processions, fairs and family time. In fact, Mangal Shovajatra, a mass procession that begins at dawn on the first day of the Bengali New Year, was declared an intangible cultural heritage by UNESCO in 2016. In lieu of a procession, the embassy gifted attendees with several performances that celebrated the rich tradition of Bengali music and dance. Beautifully dressed women and girls took over the main stage after the ambassador’s greeting to the guests, giving way to other artists who sang and performed for the delighted crowd.

Photos Courtesy of Nandor Nagy 

This year, Pahela Baishakh was celebrated on April 14th in Bangladesh, and on April 15th in the Indian states of West Bengal and Tripura. The festival is traditionally celebrated with processions, fairs and family time. In fact, Mangal Shovajatra, a mass procession that begins at dawn on the first day of the Bengali New Year, was declared an intangible cultural heritage by UNESCO in 2016. In lieu of a procession, the embassy gifted us with several performances that celebrated the rich tradition of Bengali music and dance.

bangladesh outfit
Photos Courtesy of Nandor Nagy 

For those of us who are unfamiliar with Bangladesh, here is a course on history 101: Located in South Asia and bordering with India and Myanmar, Bangladesh formed part of British India up until the partition in 1947. It then became a province of Pakistan and eventually became an independent nation in 1971. Their culture is immensely rich due to its long history in the region and enthusiasts can find influences of Islam, Hindusim, Buddhism and Christianity in their music, dance, art and craft, language and festivals.

Photos Courtesy of Nandor Nagy 

Women, men and children were dressed in magnificent, colorful garments: men wearing smart dhoti kurta, women and girls in bright saris; I apparently missed the memo and wore a simple blue jumpsuit from J. Crew. After the ambassador’s greetings to the guests, several artists took over the main stage and performed traditional dances and songs for the delighted crowd.

Photos Courtesy of Nandor Nagy 

As you can see above everything was just colorful. The clothing, children’s arts and crafts and  decoration was vibrant. After the dancing and music ended, it was time to eat. The culinary fare of Bangladesh has similarities to North-East Indian and Middle Eastern cuisine. On Pahela Baishakh,  Bengali natives enjoyed festive foods that include panta bhat (watered rice), and Hilsha dishes – Hilsha is the national fish of Bangladesh and is incredibly popular in South Asia.

I have to confess  I don’t normally like spicy food and the few times I have been to restaurants  that served South Asian or Middle Eastern food, I ended up eating the naan, which in my opinion is one of the best breads out there. But because of the few libations I had at the open bar, I knew I had to eat something and the food smelled delicious! And I’m so glad I did! I ate  slightly spicy rice, baked eggplants and fish. Other guests savored the food as you can see below. Plates were packed with food!

In addition, I was also lucky  to meet  Ambassador Mohammad Ziauddin, who emphasized in his speech towards the packed crowd, how the rapid growth of Bangladesh in the international political and economic sector.

Pictures Courtesy of Nandor Nagy 

It was definitely a happy celebration and now that spring is (almost) here, I look forward to exploring the world by attending and writing about more embassy events in the comfort of my new home city: Washington D.C.

Love to wanderlust? Ever want to step onto foreign soil for a night? Join ThingstodoDC Cultural Society to get a remarkable privilege of visiting various Embassies throughout the District.

About Things To Do DC

Things To Do® is the premiere organization for young professionals to socialize and network.  With a membership of over 175,000, we produce a wide variety of original, interactive social, educational and cultural events that enrich your social and cultural experiences.

Learning History & Culture of Bahrain with the New Ambassador


On February 21, 2018, Photographer Nandor Nagy, enters into the Embassy of the Kingdom of Bahrain joining ThingstodoDC Cultural Society and captures an evening of cuisine, film, art, and music in this Photo Essay. 

The Kingdom of Bahrain is an Arab Constitutional Monarchy located in Persian Gulf. It is one of most liberal cultural heritages worldwide, being home to many ethnically diverse inhabitants.

Bahrain’s rich history spans more than 5,000 years and has contributed in many ways to our current day society. Originally home to the Dilmun civilization, Bahrain is marked as  an important Bronze Age trade center which linked Mesopotamia and the Indus Valley. Also, in history, Bahrain is interwoven with the Assyrians and the Babylonians.

Presently, the Kingdom holds an excellent regional and international reputation for its efforts that aim to establish Peace, thanks to the pioneering initiatives of His Majesty King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa. Continuously seeking to enhance its cultural and civilized achievements as well as providing a diplomatic introduction, the Embassy of Bahrain invites young DC professionals to dine and network on a Wednesday evening and meet the New Ambassador, Shaikh Abdullah bin Rashed bin Abdullah Al Khalifa.

 [HINT Skip to the next and previous photo using the arrows  ←/→.]

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Photos Courtesy of Nandor Nagy

ARCHITECTURE: The Entrance of the Embassy of Bahrain building.
: Guests enjoying the Specially prepared buffet of Bahrain food.
HENNA ARTIST: Bahrain Henna artist transcribes beautiful pieces of art onto guests’ arms.
BAHRAIN CLOTHING: Beautiful and colorful detailed linens and garments.
BAHRAIN ART: Special paintings, artifacts, regional displays and more artistic work originating from Bahrain.
DIPLOMATIC GREETINGSee the New Ambassador and some of the diplomats from Bahrain!

Love to wanderlust? Ever want to step onto foreign soil for a night? Join ThingstodoDC Cultural Society to get a remarkable privilege of visiting various Embassies throughout the District.

A Night in The Caribbean!


On Friday, February 23, contributing writer, Aubrey Shaffner, joins young professionals at the Embassy of Bahamas for a ThingstodoDC Culture event that delivers the Spirit of Nassau and Paradise Island with a diplomatic touch!

This past weekend I decided to take a step away from the hustle and bustle of reality and head to the Bahamas! Well, actually it was the Embassy Consular Annex of the Commonwealth of the Bahamas, but close enough! Between the live music, the food, and the atmosphere, it really felt like I had stepped out of DC and into the Caribbean for the evening.

Held on Friday night, the Embassy hosted a networking event for young professionals in the DC region. The evening started with an insightful speech from the new Consul General of the Bahamas, Mr. Theo Neilly, who not only was so welcoming, but also expressed opportunities for all in attendance to succeed in their business, investment, and networking growth.

His speech was followed by a short video to help get to know the Bahamas a little bit more. It was a great way for everyone there to understand the common wealth and anticipate in finding professional opportunities within the Bahamas. I was lucky enough for a chance to speak one-on-one with Consul General Neilly after his speech. He was wonderful and so approachable. I really appreciated how down to Earth he was. We not only talked about the event but about his time so far in DC, where he described his love of all the “characters “ he found around the city. We also discussed about him coming up to my home city of Baltimore, which I do hope he will soon come to visit!


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Afterwards everyone was free to mingle! Set to the mood of live steel drums, provided by Peter Humphrey from Oasis/Island Sounds, groups began to form around the room as individuals got to know each other. I made many connections and learned about everyone’s different positions. The first gentleman I spoke to helped refugees apply for Asylum in the United States. Especially considering the current tension on the subject these days, it was wonderful learning from someone first hand the steps of the process in which refugees go through. I also met another gentleman who was a medical resident, focusing on Oncology, and two wonderful women who work at Johns Hopkins University focusing on Bioengineering. It was a great mix of individuals and professions.

Photo Feb 23, 8 30 04 AM
Consul General of the Bahamas, Mr. Theo Neilly, and Aubrey Shaffner. Photo courtesy of Hannah Smith.

Quickly after the Consuls speech the buffet opened. Caribbean food is an absolute hit with everyone! All around me quickly moved in to grab a plate of the authentic meal. A selection of spicy cucumber and tomato salad, conch fritters, rice with beans, plantains, and my favorite, curried chicken.

Towards the end of the night, I briefly spoke to the chef in charge of our meal and was  fascinated to learn about how he made some of the dishes. I could have stood there and talked to him all night had we had the time. I even tried to get some recipes but unfortunately he didn’t have them with him. Even dessert was amazing! There were two options: a classic chocolate and cherry cake, as well as a festive coconut and banana bread pudding. I chose the latter and it happened to be the best selection of the entire night! Served warm, the bread pudding was perfectly soft but still provided texture with the crunchy flakes of coconut baked right in. A creamy vanilla rum sauce on top gave it the tropical flair! All together it melted in my mouth and I immediately went for seconds!

To pair with the great meal was a glass of tropical rum punch, that really had everyone in a great mood! Classic options such as red and white wine, and a light beer were also provided. Needless to say the Embassy did an amazing job of hosting; making us feel like we truly were all friends hanging out on an island with no cares in the world. As the event was winding down Mr. Humphrey even gave me a quick lesson on how to play the steel drums! He explained to me how it was similar to learning piano, that both had the same musical scales.

I, along with everyone I connected with, enjoyed the night! Few attendees even shared details about their Embassy event trips through Things to do DC. These events provide a great opportunity to “travel” and truly experience almost anywhere in the world right at home. I do encourage anyone in, or around, the DC area to attend a similar event in the future. My only complaint was that time went by too quickly!

Be sure to head to Islands for the Next ThingstoDoDC Cultural Event at the Embassy of Bahamas: Caribbean Celebration on May 4! Memorable events– Throwback to Giant Hollywood Graveyard Jam! Check them out!


October 2017, I had the privilege to party at’s Giant Hollywood Graveyard Jam with some of my close friends. The Halloween shindig was located at Blackfinn Ameripub and, surprisingly, there were spots in between for parking. I dressed up as a femme fatale Darth Vader (Star Wars: Force Awakening was coming out in a few months, and I was beyond hyped up) and my friend was dressed as a character from the CW’s “Supernatural”.

I’ve always wanted to do a event for several years now but never had the chance until recently. This is the premier website for professionals in d.c to try adventure sports out (helicopter lesson, anyone?), to visit an Embassy event, and to take dance lessons if you have two left feet (like me). The turnout was immense for this party and people danced so much that the party was partly taken outdoors.

JK edits 1
Taken by Cesar Guzman 

The venue was spacious yet intimate. Attendees were able to mingle and roam around without having their white russians spilling to the ground. There was a burst of creativity in the air–because half the crowd wore costumes you wouldn’t normally see at your local Party City. Aside from the typical Jesus Christ, pimp, and Harley Quinn costume, I was amused to see a Toy Story collective costume, the black power ranger, and the KFC character with his wife.

A family reunion

The Hollywood graveyard jam had great songs that were a mash up of 90s and today’s pop spun by a really good DJ. As soon as Montell Jordan’s “This is how we do it” played, the crowds started dancing like the 90s were about to start back again. I was also able to meet Greg, the guru behind D.C’s premier social and networking organization.

Greg is very down to earth and sweet! He personally welcomed me and my friends to the event and that has prompted me to want to attend a succession of his events in the near future.

I had a ball watching the costume contest in its entirety. IMG-5989

There were three rounds with the costume contest. Since much of the crowd was full of older millenials and a few Gen Xers, winners from each round were based on nostalgia and drunk claps from the crowd. The Edward Scissorhand costume wowed the audience the most.I remember before the contest when groups of guests asked ‘Edward’ for both a picture and a selfie because–who doesn’t love Johnny Depp? He made the character memorable, after all.

I wasn’t surprised that this costume won first place. The 90s seriously made a comeback that night and I loved it! The Toy Story collective rounded up second place and I was overjoyed. That’s one of my all time favorite Pixar movies and I really liked how this group made each costume, from scratch and worked diligently to move up the ranks of this competitive costume. The Tina and Ike costume was a classic–nuff said.

If you ever want to explore the city, make a friend, and truly have fun in D.C, please check out here.

Also scroll down to check out their February events.


Things To Do DC is the premier social and networking organization for young professionals.

With an active membership of over 175,000 local young professionals, Things To Do® (TTD) produces original events that enrich your social and cultural experiences while enabling you to meet other young professionals in a friendly environment.The primary goal is to help enrich the personal and professional lives of professionals of all ages. We accomplish this by producing a wide variety of interactive social, educational, and cultural events that encourage our members to learn new Things To Do in DC and meet new people.

Things To Do DC February Events 2018

French Ambassador Residence: La Soiree Champagne— February 6, 2018

Ballroom Dance Lessons and Party– February 9, 2018

Helicopter Flying Lessons for Beginners–February 10, 2018

Valentines Scavenger Hunt, Great Race and Challenge–February 11, 2018

Embassy Row Valentines Chocolate Tour—February 14, 2018

Evening at the Residence of the Ambassador From Denmark—February 15, 2018

President Lincoln Assassination Walking Tour—February 21, 2018

Evening at the Embassy of Bahrain with new ambassador—February 23, 2018