The History and Tradition of Bengali New Year (Pohela Boishakh)
Bengali New Year, also known as Pohela Boishakh, is a significant cultural event celebrated in the Bengali community worldwide. The festival is celebrated on the 14th or 15th of April every year and marks the first day of the Bengali calendar. This day is significant because it symbolizes new beginnings, and Bengalis celebrate it with great fervor and enthusiasm. In this blog post, we will delve into the history and tradition of Pohela Boishakh.
History of Pohela Boishakh:
The origins of Pohela Boishakh can be traced back to the Mughal period in the 16th century. During that time, the Mughal emperor Akbar introduced the tradition of celebrating the new year according to the solar calendar. The tradition was called “Chaitra Sankranti” and was celebrated on the 1st day of the Bengali month of Chaitra.
However, the Bengali calendar has a lunar-based system, and as a result, the date of Chaitra Sankranti varied from year to year. In the late 16th century, the Bengali astronomer Shah Sufi Syed Roshan established a new calendar system, which was based on the movements of the sun. This new calendar system was called the “Bangla San” or the Bengali Era.
The Bengali Era was officially adopted by the Mughal Empire in 1584 AD, and the first day of the Bengali year was set on the 14th of April, which is known as Pohela Boishakh.
Traditions of Pohela Boishakh:
Pohela Boishakh is a day when people forget their differences and come together to celebrate their culture and tradition. The day is celebrated with music, dance, and food. The streets are adorned with colorful decorations, and people dress up in traditional attire.
The day starts with the traditional ritual of “halkhata,” where shopkeepers open new account books and seek blessings from the goddess of wealth, Lakshmi. People also visit temples and offer prayers to seek the blessings of the gods.
Another significant tradition of Pohela Boishakh is the “panta bhaat” or leftover rice soaked in water. It is a traditional dish that symbolizes the simplicity and humility of the Bengali culture. People also enjoy traditional sweets like rasgulla, sandesh, and mishti doi.
The day is also marked by cultural events, including singing and dancing performances, which reflect the rich culture of Bengal. In Bangladesh, people gather in the streets of Dhaka to participate in the “Mangal Shobhajatra” procession. The procession features giant puppets, colorful masks, and floats that depict the struggles and achievements of the Bengali people.
In conclusion, Pohela Boishakh is a celebration of the rich cultural heritage of the Bengali people. The festival not only marks the beginning of the Bengali New Year but also represents new beginnings, unity, and harmony. Pohela Boishakh is a day when people forget their differences and come together to celebrate their culture and tradition.
As we celebrate Pohela Boishakh, let us take a moment to appreciate the rich culture and tradition of the Bengali people and strive to preserve it for future generations.
Here are some Pohela Boishakh songs:
1. Eso He Boishakh by Asif
2. Aise Pohela Boishakh by Kona
3. Elo Boishakh by SD Rubel
4. Eso He Boishakh Eso by Lopamudra
These are just a few of the many beautiful Bengali songs that celebrate Pohela Boishakh and the arrival of the new year. Each song captures the essence of this joyous occasion in its own unique way, and they all evoke a sense of excitement, happiness, and renewal.
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