Just as the revelry of Holi gets over, people of Bengal get busy planning for one of the most auspicious days of the year- ‘Poila Baisakh’. This day, which falls on the first day of the month of Baisakh, marks the beginning of a new year BS for all the Bengali Hindus. Usually, the Bengali New Year or ‘Poila Baisakh’ is celebrated on the 14th or 15th of April every year. This year Poila Baisakh falls on the 15th of April, and Bengali sambat BS 1421 begins. People gear up for the celebrations of ‘Poila Baisakh’ with a lot of enthusiasm. Let us know about the rituals and other significant details regarding both these important days.
The Significance of 15th April
15th April which falls on the ‘Chaitreyee Poornima’, is one of the most special days for the Bengalis and residents of eastern India as they celebrate ‘Poila Baisakh or ‘Nobo Borsho’ in Bengal. Apart from Bengal, this day holds importance for people of many other regions of India too. The Assamese celebrate ‘Rongali or Bohag Bihu’ on this day whereas people of Tamil Nadu celebrate it as ‘Puthandu’. In South India, people observe the Hanuman Jayanti on this propitious day whereas for Jains, it is the time when ‘Oli’ ends. The people of Manipur celebrate the Manipuri New Year or ‘Cheiraoba’ on this day.
For Bengalis, ‘Poila Baisakh’ is the time to wish each other, ‘Shubho Noboborsho’ or Happy New Year and pray to Goddess Lakshmi and Lord Ganesh for a perfect year ahead. People follow age-old traditions of waking up early and witnessing the rising sun and seeking blessings from elders of the house, thereafter. Houses and shops are cleaned and renovated as a sign to begin the New Year on a bright note. Traders and businessmen are busy with the ‘Halkhata’ ceremony of opening a new account book observing various rituals for prosperity in business. They also invite their customers in the evening and treat them with sweets. Apart from the festive reasons, it is an important day for the businessmen also because this day, all the dues are cleared by the consumers.
Men and women bring out the traditional attires from their closets and flaunt their best conventional look, this day. Bengalis, as they are known as big foodies, start their day with sweets, as it is considered a good omen for starting the New Year. Traditional sweets such as Rosogolla, Sandesh, Payesh, Ras Malai, Komola Bhog and Kalakand find a special place in the Bengali platter on this day. The menu for lunch comprises of mouth-watering fish delicacies. ‘Poila Baisakh’ is considered one of the best days of the year to conduct all kinds of auspicious events such as marriage, house-warming ceremonies or launching a new business venture.