Pohela Boishakh is celebrated by Bengalis all over the world on the 14th of April every year, being the first day of the Bengali Calendar. Also known as “Boishakhi Utsab”, people greet each other with the phrase ‘Shuvo Nobobarsh’ which translates to ‘Happy New Year’. All religions of Bengali people partake in this joyous occasion, and it is a public holiday in Bangladesh as well as India. Festivities are organized in the form of fairs and markets, providing entertainment for all age groups.
The origin of the Bengali Calendar is said to be attributed to the seventh century’s king, Shashanka, and was further modified by the Mughal emperor Akbar for taxation purposes. As the first day of the first month of the lunisolar Bengali calendar, it is celebrated on the 14th of April 2019 according to the Gregorian calendar.
Pohela Boishakh is a day of happiness, with people wearing new clothes, decorating their homes and roads with lights and alpanas, and spending time with family and friends. The girls wear red and white sarees, and the boys wear Panjabi pajamas. A traditional meal of Panta vat with Ilish mas is eaten in the morning, accompanied by mas, dal, sukna marich, and vorta. To welcome the New Year, people sing the song ‘Eso he boishakh eso eso, Eso he boishakh eso eso’, written by Rabindranath Tagore.