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Poila Boishakh/Pohela Boishakh 2019: India is a vast country and different parts of it celebrate different festivals throughout the year. The diversity is pronounced and at times the same festival is celebrated differently in the different states. The New Year is also not an exception as different states celebrate the day on different dates. In Bengal, the Bengali New Year, or Noboborsho, is celebrated in April. Called Poila Boishakh or Pohela Boishakh, the day is celebrated with great enthusiasm by Bengalis across the world. Tripura, and the neighbouring Bangladesh too celebrate the day in April.
The Assamese New Year also falls on this day and is celebrated as Bihu.
When is Poila Boishakh 2019?
In 2019, Bengalis will be welcoming their new year — 1426 — on April 15. The Naba Barsha is celebrated on the first day of the month of Baishakh, according to the lunisolar calendar. The festival coincides with Bohag Bihu in Assam, Vishu in Kerala and Puthandu in Tamil Nadu. Baisakhi in Punjab is also celebrated around the same time.
Pohela Boishakh is one of the biggest events and a secular festival in Bangladesh.
Poila Boishakh history
It’s a ritual at all Bengali homes to pay visit to a temple every Poila Boishakh, starting the year on an auspicious note. Many, however, may not know that the Bengali calendar followed currently carries a Mughal influence. The one-of-its-kind calendar had been introduced by Emperor Akbar is an amalgamation of the lunar Islamic calendar and the solar Hindu calendar.
Revenues were largely dependent on agriculture during Akbar’s rule, and the taxes were collected according to the Islamic Hijri calendar. However, while harvest season would have been the apt time for collecting taxes, the Hijri calendar did not coincide with the seasons and the harvest time, making it difficult for farmers to pay up.
Akbar then asked Fathullah Shirazi, his royal astronomer, to merge the Islamic calendar with the solar Hindu calendar and make a harvest calendar. Based on the traditional Bengali calendar, the new calendar facilitated tax collection after the spring harvest on the first day of the year i.e. Poila Boishakh.
Developed by King Shoshangko of Gour, the original Bengali calendar started from 593 CE, and hence the Bengali year is 593 years less than the Gregorian calendar.
The Hindu Vikrami calendar on the other hand starts in 57 BCE.
The Bengali calendar remains tied to the Hindu calendar system, and Poila Boishakh falls either on 14 or 15 April every year.
In Bangladesh, the calendar was modified in 1966, making the first five months 31 days long, and the rest 30 days each, with the month of Falgun adjusted to 31 days every four years. Officially adopted in 1987, the Bangladesh national calendar starts with Pohela Boishakh on 14 April every year.