Bengali New Year 2012 – Poila Baisakh or Naba Barsha

Bengali New Year is known as Poila Baisakh or Naba Barsha and it is observed the first day of the Baisakh month as per traditional calendar followed in West Bengal and Bangladesh. Bengali New Year 2012 date is April 14.

To welcome the New Year, the houses are thoroughly cleaned and decorated with seasonal flowers. Entrances to the houses are decorated with elaborate rangolis known as alpana using a paste made out of rice flour.

An earthen pot or ‘kalash’ decorated with rice flour paste is placed in the center of the rangolis. The swastika symbol is drawn on the pot. The pot is filled to the brim with water and mango leaves are arranged at its neck. The ‘kalash’ symbolizes a prosperous year.

Goddess Lakshmi and Lord Ganesh are worshipped and women wear white sari with red border and men wear dhoti and kurta.

In some areas, people take part in Prabhat Pheries or early morning processions. Then it is time to meet friends and relatives and exchange gifts and greet each other - Shubo Nabo Barsho.
Women make it a point to buy a new sari for Poila Baisakh. Traders popularly call the sale of new clothes during Naba Barsha as ‘Chaitra Sales.’

Halkhata ceremony
All shops will be decorated with flowers and one will find stringed fresh lemons and chillies hanging in front of shops. This is used to ward off the evil eye. Traders perform the halkhata ceremony that marks the advent of the Bengali New Year. They 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.

New Year Dishes
No Indian festival is complete without the mouthwatering cuisines. For a change, Bengalis prepare both Vegetarian and non-Vegetarian dishes for Poila Baisakh. The unique Bengali recipes for the New Year include mochar ghonto, potoler dolma, daab chingri, enchorer dalna, tel koi, doi mach, luchi mangsho, eilish maachher paturi…its a long list.