Pohela Boishakh

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Shubhô Nôbôbôrshô

Happy Bengali New Year!

In Bengali, Pohela stands for ‘first’ and Boishakh is first month of the Bengali calendar. Bengali New Year is referred to in Bengali as “New Year”. Nobo means new and Borsho means year.

The Bengali calendar which is loosely tied with the Hindu Vedic solar calendar, based on the Surya Siddhanta celebrates its New Year today. The Bengali calendar commences in mid-April of the Gregorian year together with many other variants of the Hindu solar calendar. The first day of the Bengali year therefore coincides with the mid-April New Year along with Mithila, Assam, Burma, Cambodia, Kerala, Manipur, Nepal, Odisha, Sri Lanka, Tamil Nadu and Thailand.

The development of the Bengali calendar is often attributed to king of Gour, Gaudor Shashanka as the starting date falls squarely within his reign. However, Mughal Emperor Jalaluddin Muhammad Akbar, the renowned grandson of Zahiruddin Muhammad Babur, the 3rd Mughal Emperor, introduced the Bengali Calendar. Origin of Bongabdo or Bangla Year is debated with primarily two hypotheses but historicity of none could be proved till date.

Today the Baisakhi month is considered as an auspicious and great time for marriage and on the very day people also enjoy with Great Spirit and enthusiasm. In Bengal, there are fairs, people wear new dresses, especially ladies wear saree in the conventional way and men wear dhoti and kurta. There used to be various items present for riding. People also buy lots of things, garments for their family members, relatives and also for their beloved ones. These include ornaments, toys for children, utensils and many more products, they eat foods, snakes and hawkers gather there for a great sell with huge collection of products. During Chaitra, the last month of the previous year, seller sales products with huge discounts, this is known as “Chaitra Sell”.

People have also chosen this day for socializing. They greet each other by exchanging sweets, they decorate their home with colorful rangoli contained with minced rice and mixed with water and draw beautiful designs in front of the door which is known as “Alpona”.

The Hindu traders purchase new accounting book which is known as “Halkhata”. And on the front page the draw a swastika with red sindoor. Many shop keepers invite their customers at their shops to take part in the celebration. They worship Lord Ganesha and Ma Lakshmi, the Goddess of wealth for wealth, prosperity and welfare. It is marked as the beginning of the business.

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