Pohela Boishakh,this term is well known among the Bengali community. This day is special and celebrated by all Bengali community people. Pohela boishakh is also known as nobo borsho this means new year in English. According to the Bengali calendar, pohela boishakh is the first day of the year. Pohela Boishakh is the first day of the month boishakh, so the ethnic celebration is practiced such as wearing new clothes, worshiping god ( in a special way), functions are arranged in villages where children dance, act, sing and elders also participate.
Origin of this pohela boishakh:
There are numerous stories regarding the history of pohela boishakh, in this article has discussed one. It is said that the pohela Boishakh originated from the time of the Mughal Empire. In those days tax was collected by considering the Arabic calendar but peasants faced problems as the seasonal cycle did not match with the Arabic calendar. When landowners collect tax, poor peasants have to wait for the reap of the crops. Realizing this problem, the empire selected one renowned scholar ( Fatelluah Shiraj) in court and gave the responsibility to solve this problem. A new calendar was designed that includes all the seasons and the last month of this calendar is chattra. People used to clear their tax at the end of the year and start the new year with a celebration. In recent times people celebrate pohela boishakh is the beginning of the new year.
Culture of pohela boishakh:
These all are the historic part of the “Pohela Boishakh”. But as you know, Bengalis never miss any opportunities to celebrate. And how can you imagine, the doesn’t celebrate the first day of the year. So the list of plans is lining up to celebrate our
- First thing first, wake up early in the morning. As our mom says, “what we do on the first day, we will going to repeat that for the whole year”. So you have to wake up early on this very day by hook or crook.😔😔
- Now, it’s time to take the shower. As in our Bengali family, the special day doesn’t start without taking shower. So, get the shower early and touch the elders’ feet to gather blessings for the whole long year. Plus in some houses, they arrange pujas on this day.
- How can you forget the ‘Probhaat Feri’. A long possession with the Tagore’s song. Boys and girls dressed up in ethnic clothes. They sing and dance through the road and celebrate the beginning of a new year with joy and happiness. You can easily join them in the morning.
- New Dresses 😍. Pohela Boishakh is incomplete without new clothes. Before this new year, most of the shops give a discount for the year-end sale, commonly known as ‘Chaitra Sale’. Bengalis love to shop on sale. And then wear the new clothes on the day of the new year. Except for Puja, this is the only day when Bengalis are that much excited to wear new clothes.
- Now comes the most interesting part and the common part. The food. Bengalis are very famous for their food habits. And Pohela Boishakh is that day of the year where they just showcase all of their cooking skills. For breakfast, they prepare the famous ‘luchi and alurdom’. Also, they add other side dishes to company them. Not to forget the rasogolla along with this. Overall a literary heavy breakfast. And don’t think this is the end. The lunch is yet to come…
- Bengalis believe the road to heart goes from our mouth. So they never compromise with food. In Lunch, you will have rice and a variety of fishes items. Specially mention, Hilsa Fish. In some families, they have the tradition to cook hilsa on the occasion of Pohela Boishakh. They will also prepare chicken and mutton. But the special attraction for lunch is definitely the Payesh, the homemade sweet dish with rice milk and sugar. And the famous misti dohi is also on the list.
- It’s a new day and a new beginning of a year. So, this is the best time to make resolutions. Bengalis took a fresh resolution for the new with more positivity and happiness. For Bengalis, a full belly gives you the most positivity. So Pohela Boishakh is the day to wash off all the sadness and failure for the last year and start of a fresh year.
Apart from all these homely celebrations, two special features symbolize the Bengali New Year. If you are Bengali or you have Bengali friends then you are definitely aware of this two.
As the year starts, Bengalis rush to the bookstall to buy a Panjika, the fat yearbook for the upcoming year. This is a kind of Bengali almanac. Bengalis house is incomplete without a Panjika. People use this long yearbook to find festivals and occasions. Not only that this book will guide Bengalis to find out the good time for every important work such as marriage, the opening of shop or business. This book is the perfect guide to find out any particular day in the upcoming year.
This Panjika publishing becomes a high business nowadays. But still, the old house of Benimadhab Seal is the first choice of everyone. Whether Bengalis live in Kolkata or America, the Panjika is going to accompany them. Now you will find this Panjika everywhere in the world.
Pohela Boishakh is the time for halkhata. Bengali traders and shopowners celebrate this day as halkhata, where they closed all the payment transactions for the last year and fresh start the new book(khata). On this day, they worship Laxmi Ganesh in their shop. They also invite customers and their families to come and join them in the evening. This is only one side of the halkhata. In the evening, people get out of their homes and hop shops and collect the sweet packets from the shops as a halkhata gift along with the Bengali New Year calendar. Also, the shop owners offer Ice Cream and soft drinks which are the main attraction for the children. Overall this evening is full of enjoyment for all the ages of Bengalis.
As time is passing the tradition and the rituals are spreading. Bengalis whether they are in Kolkata or Bangladesh or America, this day feels the same emotion and nostalgia for them. So, if you are Bengali, you know what to do. And if you are not, then just wear new clothes and enjoy the ambiance and foods on this Pohela Boishakh.