Naba Barasha or Poila Baisakh is the traditional Hindu New Year in West Bengal and
In Bengali houses, Naba Barsa is welcomed with elaborate alpanas (rangolis). A kalash is placed in the center of the alpana pattern and it symbolizes prosperity. Houses are elaborately decorated with flowers as there is no shortage of flowers during this season. Another important event is the Prabhat Pheries or early morning processions.
Goddess Lakshmi, the goddess of wealth, and Lord Ganesh are worshipped on the Bengali New Year day.
Traders perform the halkhata ceremony that marks the advent of the Bengali New Year. All shops are decorated with flowers and one will notice stringed fresh lemons and chillies hanging in front of shops. This is used to ward off the evil eye.
Shopkeepers, businessmen and traders close the old accounts and open a new one. People visit their favorite shop during the day to wish them luck for the year ahead. Traders welcome customers on this day with sweets.
Women make it a point to buy a new sari or saree for Poila Baisakh, especially a white sari with red border. Traders popularly call the sale of new clothes during Naba Barsha as ‘Chaitra Sales’ – the previous month is Chiatra or Chaitro.
No Hindu festival is complete without the mouthwatering cuisines. And Bengalis prepare both Vegetarian and non-Vegetarian dishes for Poila Baisakh.