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Pohela Boishakh 2023: History, Significance, Rituals, and More!

Bengali New Year is the time of year for Bengalis when they come together, celebrate the New Year, and pray for prosperity and happiness in the year ahead.

Shivangi Rai
It is an important festival for Bengalis, both in Bangladesh and West Bengal
It is an important festival for Bengalis, both in Bangladesh and West Bengal

Bengali New Year, also known as Pohela Boishakh, is celebrated on the first day of the Bengali calendar, which often falls on April 14 or 15 in the Gregorian calendar.

It is an important festival for Bengalis, both in Bangladesh and West Bengal. On this auspicious occasion, fairs are held in urban areas where people gather and greet one another "Shubho Nobobarsho," or Happy New Year.
Bengali New Year is a time for Bengalis when they come together, celebrate the new year, and pray for prosperity and happiness in the year ahead. It is the celebration time for Bengali culture and traditions and is an important part of the Bengali identity.

History of Pohela Boishakh
The Mughal era is the period when the festival's celebratory customs first emerged. According to the folklore, the celebration began after the ritual was adopted in West Bengal during the reign of Emperor Akbar in an effort to establish a set date each year for the collection of the harvest tax.
It is reported that Akbar instructed the royal astronomer Fathullah Shirazi to combine the existing solar Hindu calendar with the lunar Islamic calendar to create a new calendar. Shirazi invented a brand-new harvest calendar called the Fashol Shan, which was said to mark the beginning of the Bengali calendar. The Bengali Hindu groups in rural Bengal attribute the creation of the Bengali calendar to emperor Vikramaditya.

Significance of Pohela Boishakh
Since the auspicious day also marks the beginning of a financial cycle, many stores and enterprises invite frequent customers and show them some thanks on this day. Since it's a lucky day, some shops even start a new customer records book. People offer prayers to Lord Ganesha and Goddess Lakshmi on this day for a successful business.

Rituals & Celebrations of Pohela Boishakh

  1. Cleaning and Decorating- People clean their homes and decorate them with colourful rangolis and alponas in the days leading up to Pohela Boishakh.

  2. Wearing New Clothes- Wearing new clothes on Pohela Boishakh symbolizes a fresh start and new beginnings.

  3. Offering Prayers- To seek blessings for the coming year, many people visit temples or offer prayers at home.

  1. Cultural Programs- In both Bangladesh and West Bengal, Pohela Boishakh is celebrated with cultural programs, including folk music, dances, and performances.

  2. Food- Traditional Bengali dishes are an important part of the Pohela Boishakh celebrations. Panta bhaat (fermented rice), chholar dal (Bengal gram), ilish maach (hilsa fish), and mishti doi (sweet yogurt) are some of the popular dishes served during this festival.

  3. Parades and Fairs- In Bangladesh, Pohela Boishakh is celebrated with large parades and fairs. People come out in large numbers to relish the festivities, which including dance, music, and food.

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