Poila Baisakh, known as Pohela Boishakh, is the first day of the Bengali calendar. It is celebrated on the 14th or 15th of April every year, depending on the lunisolar calendar.
Poila Baisakh is a significant cultural and traditional festival in the Bengal region, which includes West Bengal, Bangladesh, and parts of Assam and Tripura. It marks the beginning of the new year and is celebrated with much enthusiasm and joy.
People dress up in traditional attire, prepare traditional delicacies, and participate in cultural programs and processions. The day begins with the ‘Prabhat Pheri’ or morning procession, which is a significant part of the celebrations.
Many businesses and organizations also start their new financial year in Poila Baisakh, and it is considered auspicious to start new ventures on this day. Overall, Poila Baisakh is a time of new beginnings, renewal, and hope for a prosperous year ahead.
Poila Baisakh, also known as Pohela Boishakh, is the first day of the Bengali calendar. It is celebrated on April 14th or 15th every year, depending on the Gregorian calendar. The word “Poila” means “first” and “Baisakh” is the first month of the Bengali calendar. Poila Baisakh is celebrated not only in Bangladesh and the Indian state of West Bengal but also by Bengali communities around the world.
On this day, people dress up in traditional clothes, exchange greetings and gifts, and visit temples and relatives’ houses. Special dishes like pitha (rice cakes) and daal (lentil soup) are prepared, and music and dance performances take place.
Poila Baisakh marks the start of a new year, and it is a time for reflection, renewal, and hope for a better future.
Here are some lesser-known facts about Poila Boisakh:
- Poila Boisakh is not just a Bengali festival, it is celebrated by other communities in India as well, such as the Marwaris in Rajasthan, the Malayalis in Kerala, and the Tamilians in Tamil Nadu.
- The Bengali calendar was introduced by Mughal Emperor Akbar in the 16th century, to synchronize the lunar and solar calendars.
- The tradition of opening new account books on Poila Boisakh, known as haal khata, began with the zamindars (landowners) in Bengal, who used to settle their accounts with their tenants on this day.
- In West Bengal, a colorful procession called the Prabhat Pheri takes place early in the morning, where people sing and dance to the beat of drums and other instruments.
- The sweet dish, Mishti Doi, is an important part of the Poila Boisakh feast. It is made by boiling milk and jaggery or sugar until it thickens and then adding curd to it. It is then left to ferment overnight, resulting in a delicious, creamy dessert.
- Poila Boisakh is also known as Naba Barsha, which means “New Year” in Bengali.
- In Bangladesh, Poila Boisakh is a national holiday, and the day is marked by a grand procession known as the Mangal Shobhajatra.
- The poet Rabindranath Tagore introduced the tradition of organizing cultural programs on Poila Boisakh in Santiniketan, which has now become a major attraction for tourists.
- In some parts of Bengal, it is customary to start the day by eating a bitter neem leaf, which is believed to cleanse the body of impurities and promote good health.
- Poila Boisakh is a time for new beginnings, and many Bengalis start new ventures or make important purchases on this day, as it is considered auspicious.