Nobo Borsho- Bengali New Year

Poila Baishakh Date 2016

Friday 15 April

Nobo Borsho- Poila BoishakhNobo Borsho marks the new year day as per the the Bengali calender and is celebrated in West Bengal with great fervor and joy. Nobo Borsho (নব বর্শ) is the Bangla term meaning New Year (Nobo= new and Borsho=year). It is also popularly called Poila Baishakh (পইলা বৈশাখ) or the first day of Vaisakh month which is the first month of Bengali calendar. In Bangladesh too, this day is celebrated as a new year day and Poila Baisakh there is pronounced as ‘Pohela Boishakh’.

Nobo Borsho or Poila Baisakh Date

Poila Baisakh 2016– In 2016, the Bengali people all over the world will celebrate Poila Baisakh on 15 April 2016 and it will mark the beginning of the Bengali Year 1423 ( 2016-2017 as per English calendar)

Nobo Borsho is celebrated every year in mid April and the date remains almost constant (14th or 15th April). This is because the Bangla calendar is similar to the Hindu Vedic solar calendar which is based on the Surya Siddhanta (the Principle of Sun). That’s why, the other new year festivals like Baisakhi Festival of Punjab, Bohag Bihu of Assam, Puthandu of Tamil Nadu and Vishu of Kerala coincide with Nobo Borsho festival of Bengal.

Nobo Barsho Rituals

Nobo Borsho DateBoishakh- the first month of the Bengali calendar represents the beginning of the crop cycle in Bengal. The Baishakh month is considered auspicious for all good works including marriages, starting a new business, housewarming parties etc. For choosing the auspicious dates, not only in Boishakh month but also in all the other months of the Bangla new year, people consult ‘Panjika’ – the Bengali almanac.

Haalkhata- Inauguration of New Accounts for Business

Traders and shopkeepers begin their new year by opening new ledger books known as ‘HaalKhata.’ They worship ‘Ganesha’ as well as ‘Lakshmi’ at their business venues.

Haal Khata new Ledger

Regular customers are invited to participate in the ‘Ganesha and Lakshmi Puja’ through invitation cards posted at their addresses. Everyone coming to the shops are welcomed with sweets and gifts are also given to the regular customers.

‘Panjika’ – the Bengali Almanac

Panjika is one book that can be found in all Bengali households. Panjika is the Bengali almanac that contains every date with its significance from astrological and religious points of view. It is used all through the year to find out such things as festival timings, auspicious dates for weddings, housewarming and everything that is meant to be done on a favorable day. On Poila Baishakh, everyone buy a Panjika that is available in various sizes like directory, full and half book as well as pocket-size book. In fact, the Panjika is released by various publishing houses in the last month of the previous year so that people can start planning for the auspicious dates to be celebrated in New year.

‘Chaitra Sankranti’ – the Eve of Bengali New Year

Not only do the Bengali people celebrate Poila Boishakh as their new year day, they also celebrate the end of the previous year as ‘Chaitra Sankranti’.

Bengali New Year celebrations

Chaitra is the last month of Bangla calendar and its last day is celebrated as Chaitra Sankranti when some exciting fairs and festivals are held in Kolkata and throughout West Bengal. Traditional Charak Mela displays some of the amazing spiritual acrobatics and is organized in all small and big towns of West Bengal. In the month of Chaitra, garment as well as other traders organize Chaitra sale to optimize the new year buying spree among the people.

Naba Barsho Celebrations

The sales and discounts offered in the Chaitra sales fairs make it easier for bengalis to buy a lots of gifts and clothes to celebrate their Nobo Borsho. All the people wear new clothes on Poila Boishakh and exchange sweets and gifts among friends and acquaintances. Young ones touch the feet of elders to get their blessings for the coming new year. People of same age group wish each other ‘Shubho Nobo Borsho’ (শূভ নব বর্শ – May the New Year be Auspicious for You).

Bengali New Year Greetings

Greeting cards with messages for ‘Shubho Nobo Borsho’ are sent to friends and distant relatives. The modern Bengali segment even use e-cards to greet their friends ‘Shuvo Naba Borsho’. They also send SMS messages to their friends and acquaintances to wish Poila Boishakh. Music and cultural programmes including traditional dances are held in the evening of Poila Boishakh. One can hear Rabindranath Tagore’s famous song, ‘Esho, hey Boishakh, Esho Esho (Come, O Boishakh, Come, Come) playing here and there in Kolkata along with other songs to welcome the new year.

Traditional Poila Boishakh Bengali Foods

Bengali gourmet delicacies are prepared on Poila Boishakh to celebrate the Nobo Borsho. This starts right from the morning when gourmet breakfast like Koraishutir kochuri (fried puris stuffed with peas preparation) and aloor dum (potato curry) or chholar dal (lentil preparation) is served. The lunch and dinner on Poila Baishakh is also a gourmet one with vegetarian and non vegetarian dishes made of fish, chicken and meat. Vegetarian recipes on this new year day may include Dhokar dalna (steamed lentil cakes curry), Potoler dolma (stuffed pointed gourd recipe), Chanar kalia (cottage cheese preparation), Phulkopir dum (cauliflower cooked in tandoor way).

Bengali New Year Foods

The non-vegetarian dishes for Nobo Borsho include one or many mouthwatering dishes like Chingri malai curry (Prawn cream curry), Bhetki paturi (Bekti fish fillets seasoned with mustard and wrapped in plantain leaves), Bhapa Ilish( steamed hilsa fish), Bhapa chingri (steamed prawns), Narkel ilish (stewed hilsa fish in creamy coconut milk), Daab chingri (prawns stuffed and steamed in green coconut), Doi murgi (chicken curry made with yogurt), Kosha mangsho (Bengali mutton curry) etc.

All the meals on Nobo Borsho day are accompanied with special Bengali sweets like mishti doi (sweet yogurt), Bhapa sandesh, Rossogullar payesh, Malpua aar rabdi, Nolen gurer payesh, Aamer payesh etc.


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