It is a common saying that “Bengalis celebrate thirteen festivals in twelve months.” This is at best an underestimation. One of the foremost among all festivals is the beginning of Bengali Calendar Year in the month of Boisakh (April) celebrated as Poila Boisakh ( 1st day of the month Boisakh). This is one of the oldest festivals Bengalis celebrate till today. Not only in Bengal, but the entire global Bengali community celebrate this special auspicious day with great fervor and enthusiasm.
Today, in this article our spotlight will be on those few rituals that make “Poila Boisakh” very special among all Bengalis.
New Clothes and ‘Choitra’ Sale:
It is a century old tradition to wear new clothes on Poila Boisakh. Previously, when there was no such popularity of online stores, this was one of the times apart from Durga Puja when a typical Bengali family used to shop. Now things have changed, still, Bengalis follow this tradition to start the year with new clothes.
As the “Boisakhi Shopping” is an integral part of Bengali culture, the garments retailers also come up with lucrative “Choitra Sale”( Discounted price) from the beginning of the March every year upto Poila Boisakh. Shopping spots, like Hati Bagan Market, New Market, Gariahat become the shoppers’s heaven. Now a days, national retail chains also offer some discounts during this time, but the charm of the open air market with constant bargaining is still on the top.
Lakhmi-Ganesh Puja and ‘Haal Khata’:
Bengali business owners consider Poila Boisakh very auspicious, on this day , all of them worship goddess Lakshmi and Lord Ganesh with the hope and prayer to have a good financial start in the beginning of the year.
Not only this, most of the local stores who offers goods on credit, start a new “Haal Khata” on this day, Haal Khata is the notebook where all the accounts of credits along with customers details are kept. The loyal customers of each stores get an invitation to visit the store on this day; they come to the store and enlist their names on the new Haal Khata; the business owners in return gift them a big pack of sweets and a Bengali new calendar. if you visit any Bengali family post this day, you will surely get to see plates full of such sweets in their home.
Traditional Grand Bengali Feast:
Any Bengali occasion is incomplete with the grand traditional Bengali feast. On the Poila Boisakh as well, every Bengali family sticks to this tradition quite wholeheartedly. The varieties of fish, meat, along with fries, mishti-doi and sweets are the main attraction of this kind of grand feasts. Now a days, there are so many Bengali themed restaurants which offer such bong delicacies throughout the year, but on the day of Poila Boisakh, they come up with special menu and the present generation loves to visit such places when cooking of so many dishes at home is not convenient, but no one literally misses the feast on this day.
This is a celebration of rural Bengal that takes place on the last day of the year. The devotees follow some rituals throughout the last month of the year and ends by performing some stunts with good belief on Lord Shiva. In every village, this tradition is common. It also comes with a fair which continues till the first few days of the new year.
Poila Boisakh completes with a great get together with the entire family. As more of the young generation stay out of their families for work and education, it is one of such days, when they priorities their family and manage some time to spend with younger and elder members. Poila Boisakh and the great Bengali get together is literally synonymous.
The celebration is also very much associated with the rice cultivation cycle of the Bengal. It is, thus more than just a day of festival, it is believed that the first day brings all the good luck, prosperity and hope.
We, from team Get Insight Blog, wish our all readers a very Happy and Healthy Bengali New Year (Subho Nababarsho 1428).
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