Poila Baishakh or Bengali New Year is celebrated with much splendour among the Bengali communities spread all over the world. The day is observed on the first day of the Bengali calendar, which usually falls either on the 14th or 15th of April. Fairs, cultural events, and food festivals form an integral part of Bengali New Year celebration.
When Is Bengali New Year 2021 Celebrated?
|Thursday, 15 April 2021||Pohela Boishakh/Bengali New Year||West Bengal and Tripura|
Other Holidays in April 2021
The significance of Bengali New Year
With the Mughal Emperor, Akbar’s initiative the Bengali calendar came in into prominence in the 15th century. The purpose was to make the process of tax collection more transparent and easier than how it was before. During the Mughal era, taxes were collected based on the Islamic Hijri calendar.
However, Hijri was a lunar calendar and its new year did not match with the harvest season. To make the tax collection process simpler, the solar Hindu calendar was introduced, marking the beginning of the Bengali calendar.
Poila Baishakh is also celebrated as Vaishakhi among the Sikh and other Hindu communities. It’s also celebrated as Vishu in Kerala and Puthandu in Tamil Nadu.
List of Monthly Holidays 2021
How Is Bengali New Year Celebrated?
On Bengali New Year’s Eve, Bengalis visit the Kalighat temple to offer prayers. Holy places like Dakshineswar and Belur also witness a surge in the number of devotees. Families clean and decorate their houses to prepare for the occasion.
For many, the day begins by taking a holy dip early in the morning, preferably just before dawn, in the Ganges or any other equivalent river that’s considered holy. People dress up in traditional attire— kurtas and pajamas for men and sarees for men. Most apparel shops roll out “Chaitra Sale” or the end-of-year sale a month before Poila Baishakh.
On this day, Bengalis greet each other by saying “Shubho Naboborsho”, which translates to “Happy New Year”. Visiting relatives’ house or having a family reunion or get-together is common. Indulging in quintessential Bengali food like radhaballavi, chholar dal, shukto, fish and mutton curry, among others is a must. Sweets, including rasgulla, kaju barfi, and roshomalai are served in households. Almost all restaurants prepare special Bengali dishes and are usually jampacked on this day.
Cultural events are organised across Bengal and other states. Rabindrasangeet, Najrulgeeti, and folk songs and dance form an integral part of these events. Streets and parks are decorated with coloured lights and megaphones playing Bengali songs are set up in localities.
Bengali New Year is celebrated among the entire Bengali community irrespective of caste and religion. So, if you happen to be in eastern part of India in April next year, don’t forget to witness one of the biggest festivals of West Bengal—Poila Baishakh.
About Bengali New Year
Bengali New Year is a regional holiday. On the festival day, the Bengali families wash their houses and fully beautify them with rangoli. They locate a clay pot capped with the leaves of mango and packed with water. The temples of Lakshmi, the goddess of prosperity and wealth; and Ganesh, the god of propitious beginning; will be visited by the people.
The nearby rivers will also be visited to submit special prayers on the festival day. Like West Bengal, in Tripura, Pahela Baishakh is a state-level holiday. The residents of Tripura will wear new dresses and commences the festival day by taking a visit to Hindu temples. This festival gives a fresh beginning in each element is welcomed with a positive note by the people.
The people interchange the festival wishes among themselves. The young people seek the blessings of their elders by touching feet for the next year to come. Handmade gifts will be designed based on local themes and will be shared among the people. A few families consider interchanging expensive gift items from overseas brands. Bengali New Year greeting cards can be obtained online at no cost.
Bengali New Year is a special day for the owners of the commercial outlets and shops in order to open the ledgers. Merchants across the state perform Lakshmi Pooja and Ganesh Pooja and will organise parties for their regular customers. At schools and colleges, competitions will be organised for students such as dance competitions, singing competitions, art competitions etc.
List of Trading Holidays 2021
List of Days for Bengali New Year from 2022 to 2028
|Friday 15 April 2022||Pohela Boishakh/Bengali New Year||West Bengal and Tripura|
|Saturday, 15 April 2023||Pohela Boishakh/Bengali New Year||West Bengal and Tripura|
|Sunday, 15 April 2024||Pohela Boishakh/Bengali New Year||West Bengal and Tripura|
|Tuesday, 15 April 2025||Pohela Boishakh/Bengali New Year||West Bengal and Tripura|
|Wednesday, 15 April 2026||Pohela Boishakh/Bengali New Year||West Bengal and Tripura|
|Thursday, 15 April 2027||Pohela Boishakh/Bengali New Year||West Bengal and Tripura|
|Friday, 14 April 2028||Pohela Boishakh/Bengali New Year||West Bengal and Tripura|
History of Bengali New Year
The Mughals used to garner the taxes on agricultural activities as per the Hijri calendar, which is not a lunar calendar and will not accord with the harvest. It was difficult for farmers to pay taxes out of seasons. Akbar, the Mughal Emperor, instructed to reform the calendar to ease the process of tax remittance. Following the instruction of the king, Fatehullah Shrirazi, a famous scholar, created the calendar for Bengalis based on Hindu solar and Hijri lunar calendars. The people began celebrating this festival after that. It had been mandatory to settle all dues on the final day of Choitro.
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