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Halkhata In Bengal

Halkhata is a new account book opened at the commencement of a new year. Opening of the book of accounts by shopkeepers, money lenders and other businessmen at the beginning of a Halkhata, New Year, is also referred to as notun khata, new book.

Halkhata is observed mostly on Bengali New Year’s Day, first day of Baishakh. Some observe it on Akshaya Tritiya and others on Ram Navami. In parts of Howrah, Burdwan and Hooghly, Halsal (current year) ceremony along with Halkhata is held on the 13th day of Baishakh (around April 26 annually).

The business premises and the surroundings are thoroughly cleaned and spruced up with fresh coats of paint. The whole place is then decorated with flowers, mango leaves, sola (pith) flowers and garlands, colored streamers and other decorations.

On the day of the puja, the businessman and his family take holy dip and then go to the business premises for the puja, which is performed by a priest. Usually small images of Ganesha and Lakshmi are worshiped and these are kept in the shop or office in a niche.

Ganesha is worshipped at the remover of obstacles at the beginning of every ceremony; Lakshmi is the Goddess of wealth.

On the day of the puja, all regular customers and clients are specially invited and are treated to a feast and given boxes of sweets and other gifts. The regular clients, in their turn, deposit some money (usually in hundred and one rupees) as a token advance to be put down on the freshly opened book of accounts.

  • Encyclopedia of Hinduism Volume IV page 420-21 – IHRF
  • Man In India Volume XVI – XVIII (1936) Sarat Chandra Roy (ed.) – A K Bose Publishers Kolkata.