Dr Sarkar also wrote an article on Tagore in Naba Barsha (new year), the magazine brought out by Dainik Statesman on Bengali New Year.
Poila Boishakh, also known as Noboborsho – Bengali New Year – is an important festival celebrated in the Indian state of West Bengal and Bangladesh, as well as by the Bengali communities around the world. The festival marks the first day of the Bengali calendar and usually falls on the 14th or 15th of April, every year.
The word ‘Poila’ means ‘first’ and ‘Boishakh’ is the first month of the Bengali calendar. According to the Hindu calendar, it falls on the same day as the Baisakhi festival in Punjab and Puthandu in Tamil Nadu.
The history of Poila Boishakh dates back to the Mughal era in the 16th century, when the emperor Akbar introduced a new system of taxation based on the harvest season.
This coincided with the Bengali New Year, which was already celebrated by the local population. He introduced the Mughal calendar, which was a combination of Islamic and Hindu calendars. Akbar’s decision to align the fiscal year with the Bengali calendar made the festival an official event in the Mughal court.
Today, Poila Boishakh is celebrated with great enthusiasm and zeal by Bengalis all over the world. In Kolkata, the capital of West Bengal, the day begins with people waking up early in the morning and taking a bath to purify themselves. They wear new clothes and start the day by worshipping Lord Ganesha and Goddess Lakshmi, seeking their blessings for prosperity and happiness in the coming year.
People also indulge in various cultural activities like singing, dancing, and playing musical instruments. The streets come alive with processions and colourful parades, with people dressed in traditional attire and carrying placards and banners.
One of the highlights of the festival is the traditional Bengali meal, which includes dishes like fish curry, rice, and sweets like Rasgulla and Sondesh. People also exchange sweets and gifts with their friends and family, and it is considered auspicious to start new ventures on this day.
In Bangladesh, the celebration of Poila Boishakh is known as Poila Boishakh, and it is a national holiday. The day begins with a grand procession called the Mangal Shobhajatra, which involves people carrying colourful masks and banners to signify the triumph of good over evil. The festival is also marked by cultural events and fairs, where people buy traditional handicrafts and clothing.
The significance of Poila Boishakh extends beyond just a New Year celebration. It is a time for renewal and fresh beginnings, and it represents the spirit of unity and togetherness among the Bengali community. The festival is a testament to the rich cultural heritage of the Bengali people and their deep connection to their roots.
Poila Boishakh is a festival that celebrates the spirit of Bengali culture and tradition. It is a time for new beginnings, new hopes, and new aspirations. The festival brings people together, and it is a time to forget all the worries and enjoy the simple pleasures of life.