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What is Pohela Boishakh?

Pohela Boishakh

Pohela Boishakh is the Bengali New Year and is celebrated in the Indian state of West Bengal and the country of Bangladesh. The festival usually falls on April 14th or 15th every year, according to the Bengali calendar.

Pohela Boisakh
Happy Pohela Boisakh Image by Freepik

Pohela Boishakh is a time of joy, renewal, and hope. The celebration of the Bengali New Year begins with the cleaning of homes and the decoration of streets with colorful ribbons, balloons, and traditional motifs like alpana or rangoli. People wear new clothes and gather in large numbers to participate in various cultural programs and traditional activities.

One of the most important events of Pohela Boishakh is the procession or “Prabhat Pheri” which is led by musicians and dancers. People participate in this procession, singing traditional songs and dancing to the beats of the dhol and dhak (traditional drums).

Pohela Boisakh
Pohela Boisakh – Source

Another important tradition of Pohela Boishakh is the preparation of special dishes like Panta Bhat (a dish of leftover rice soaked in water), Ilish Bhaja (fried hilsa fish), and Chomchom (a popular sweet made with chhena or cottage cheese). These dishes are usually prepared and shared among family and friends to celebrate the occasion.

Many cultural programs and fairs are organized in West Bengal and Bangladesh during Pohela Boishakh. These programs feature traditional dance forms like Jatra, Baul, and Rabindra Sangeet. People also visit temples and offer prayers to seek blessings for the New Year.

Shorshe Ilish – Source and Recipe
Chom Chom – Source and Recipe

Here are some popular dishes that are made for Pohela Boishakh:

  1. Panta Bhat: This is a traditional Bengali dish made with leftover rice that is soaked overnight in water. It is typically served with fried fish, pickles, and green chilies.
  2. Ilish Bhaja: This is a popular Bengali dish made with fried hilsa fish. The fish is marinated with spices and then fried until crispy.
  3. Shorshe Ilish: This is another popular Bengali dish made with hilsa fish. The fish is cooked in a mustard sauce with green chilies and served with rice.
  4. Chomchom: This is a popular Bengali sweet made with chhena or cottage cheese, dipped in sugar syrup and flavored with cardamom.
  5. Mishti Doi: This is a sweetened yogurt dessert that is popular in West Bengal. It is made by boiling milk and then adding a culture of yogurt and sugar.
  6. Sandesh: This is another popular Bengali sweet made with chhena or cottage cheese, sugar, and flavored with cardamom or saffron.
  7. Luchi and Cholar Dal: This is a traditional Bengali breakfast dish made with deep-fried flatbread called Luchi and a spicy lentil curry called Cholar Dal.

Traditional Bengali sweets rasgulla and sandesh.

Rosogolla – Source
Sandesh – Source

Other New Year Festivals of India:

Ugadi | Gudi Padwa |Baisakhi | Pana Sankranti

Vishu |Pohela Boishakh | Puthandu | Bihu

Sojibu Nongma Panba |Navroz

Other New year festivals in SE Asia:

Songkran | Thingyan |Chaul Chnam Thmey| Pi Mai

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