Pohela Boishakh – Bangali New Year

Pohela Boishakh is one of the most joyous occasions for the Bangladeshi people. This is one of those rare festivals where all the Bangali / Bangladeshis, regardless of their religion, location and status, celebrate together. Pohela Boishakh, the Bangali new year, signifies the first day of the Bangla calendar. This is a purely Bangali occasion where Bangali people forget their religious, cultural and their political differences and unify themselves under one word- “Bangali”.

Pohela Boishakh is celebrated on 14th April every year. This day is also known as Bangla New Year. If we try to trace back to the origin of this tradition, it goes to the Mughal Era. Emperor Akbar first ordered for a new calendar according to the harvesting calendar of the state of Bengal. It was getting harder to collect taxes according to the Hijri calendar. To make the process easier, the Bangla calendar was made according to the solar and lunar year. The first month of the calendar is Boishakh and we celebrate the first day of Boishakh as Pohela Boishakh.

People start celebrating Pohela Boishakh from early in the morning. They wake up very early and have their traditional Pohela Boishakh breakfast with fermented rice and fried Ilish fish. Then they dress up and visit their friends and family. Various ceremonies are held throughout the capital city of Dhaka to welcome the New Year. Singers and Dancers from Chhayanot perform in Ramna Botomul. Students of Dhaka University starts rallies holding various festoons and creations that signify the Bangali culture. People from all strata of the society join these events.

Fairs and festivals are organized throughout the country. The fairs held in the rural areas are very attractive and enjoyable. People of all ages join these festivals wearing new dresses. Children buy new toys and enjoy the thrilling rides set up on the festivals. People share their happiness with everyone on this joyous day. Traditional jatra, kobigan, bhatiali songs, folk songs are performed in these fairs.

One of the most interesting traditions of Pohela Boishakh in Bangladesh is Halkhata. The literal meaning of Halkhata is opening a new notebook. On this day, the businessmen all around the country end their fiscal account books and start a new one. Customers come to the store on this day and clear all their due payments. The businessmen greet them with sweets and snacks. The businessmen also clear out their due payments, get over with all the calculations and start with a new accounts book and hope for a better year.

The harmony seen among the Bangali people are simply mesmerizing. Everyone welcomes the New Year heartily and prays that this harmony sustains all the time. Pohela Boishakh truly is a significant day in lives of Bangladeshis.

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