Soumyadeep Biswas from Medinipur, Kolkata has had a sweet tooth since childhood. And today, nothing can stop him from revelling in the flavours of rosogulla, mishti doi, and sondesh. Today is, Pohila Boishak, the first day of Bengali lunisolar calendar or the Bengali New Year. It is his favorite festival and he is waiting eagerly to bite into the best of Bengali sweetmeats.
"For me, the day is about having my favourite rosogulla, seeing people wear traditional kurta pajama and Lal pada saree and ending it with mishti doi, rabri and gulab jamun." says Biswas.
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Pohila Boishak' or the first day of the Baisakh month is an important day for Bengalis. It marks the first day of Bengali lunisolar calendar. It is also known as Bangla Noboborsho which means the new year. The day is considered one of the most auspicious and important in the year and Bengalis celebrate it with full glory and happiness. People meet their relatives and enjoy the several processions organized in the city.
Souvik Seth from West Bengal wakes up early on this day, bathes, wears his traditional Bengali kurta-pyjama and visits his relatives. "Festivals are something that we Bengalis love a lot. After getting ready, we take the blessings of our elders and wish them 'Subho noboborsho' or a happy new year. To the younger, we wish, 'Subho noboborsho'r Preeti aar Subekcha' which means love, good luck and blessing. We then head towards seeking the blessing of our Kul Devi mandir of Kali maa. We worship her with flowers and sweets as prasad and take blessing for starting the new year."
Urmimala Chatterji, a teacher from Kolkata explains that Pohila Boishak is significant for the businessman as it also marks the beginning of a new financial cycle. "We worship Lord Ganesha and Goddess Laxmi at homes, or shops to get blessings for a favourable year. During the puja, we start our new Bahi Katha. We make religious symbols on the front of our house and write Shree Shree Durga matayh Namah so that Goddess Durga will give her blessings and destroy every evil eye on us."
According to Drik Panchang, the Bengali king Shoshangko started the Bengali calendar in 594 CE. But, according to some sources the Mughal emperor Akbar launched the Bengali calendar for collecting harvest tax from people.