One thing that qualifies as a bengali’s true love is ‘celebrations’. We love to celebrate whether it’s our son’s good result, our husband’s promotion or simply a get-together. And when it comes to the bengali new year, bengalis leave not one stone unturned. Essentially, our minds are still tuned to our past, to our ancestors and to our tradition. So here are a few points which will help you discover the grandeur of a bengali new year-
THE COSTUME PARTY!
Dressing the ‘bengali way’ is a must for poila boisakh. So throw all your designer wear in the wardrobe and take on an elegant, white ‘lal par(red bordered)’ saree or pajama panjabi to melt into the essence of the newness all around and at the same time recover the look of a true bong.
This time is also especially good for the ‘shoppers’ because poila boishak gives them adequate reason to fill their wardrobe with clothes. Moreover it is a time when gifts are exchanged with merriment. And you would see the words ‘SALE’ strewn over all garment shops.
FAIRS OF HAPPINESS
Yaaay! Who doesnt like fairs? Hindus throughout Bengal celebrate the year-end or ‘Chaitra Sankranti’ with some exciting fairs and festivals like Gajan and Charak. Traditional Charak Mela is held across small and big towns in West Bengal, culminating in Latu Babu-Chhatu Babur Bazar in North Kolkata on the last day of the year, and the day after at Konnagar, venue of Bengal’s only ‘Basi Charaker Mela’. These unique fairs are the best place to soak in the past and every hardcore bong should taste the ‘telebhajas’ made there. I still remember those days when my uncle used to take me there with a surge of excitement.
NEW YEAR, NEW LEDGER
Don’t forget to witness the Halkhata, a age old trader custom. Halkhata is based on the believe the new year provides the most auspicious moment to ‘open’ the ledger. Almost every bengali shop has a puja and the best part? Everyone’s invited to the party that takes place in the evening!
TASTE THE TUNES OF TAGORE
Rabindranath Tagore is a personality who is close to all bengali hearts and his compositions, specially his songs, are embedded deep into our principles. The legend’s Esho Hey Baisakh Esho Esho (Come Baisakh, Come O Come!) is the song that every bengali has to sing on poila boisakh. So rehearse a bit before you ‘perform’ to save unwanted embarrassment. My mom was always very eager to make me sing in front of all her friends and so we would sit for a rehearsal session before the new year.
REDISCOVER, RECONNECT, REVIVE
Poila boisakh is the time of the year when every bong-at-heart person comes home to their own Bengal. So it is a time marked with the respawn of old ties that were loosened by the forces of time and isolation. Feel free to discover your friendship again and reconnect with your best-buddy over ‘adda’ with tea and ‘beguni’ or ‘piyaaji’. This is the thing you must do.
AND OF COURSE THE FOOD
Food has always been the locus of any bengali festival and the new year is no exception! A lip-smacking array of dishes and even more delicious sweets are the main highlights of poila boishak. Every bengali household busies itself to come up with a pompous menu. They start with ‘Teto Dal’ , ‘Aloo Posto’ , followed by ‘Mochar Ghonto’. Then they dig into some aromatic ‘Gandharaj Rui’, next opt for either ‘Bhetki Machh er Paturi’ or ‘Chingri Machh er Malaicurry’ or even for some ‘Chital Petir Rasha’. Once you r are through with your fishy fair, go for a typical ‘Bengali Misti Pulao or Akhni Pulao’ and ‘Kasha Mangsho’. Cool down with ‘Kancha Aam er Chutney’ and end your meal with ‘Baked Aam Doi’ followed by ‘Gokul Pithe’. Ahhhhh, what a treat. What a true Bengali can do after having such an elaborate meal? A long afternoon siesta with a pashbalish, what else?
But these occasions have dangers of their own. When food is made in kitchens that are littered with pests, like cockroaches, diseases would soon take over the family and all the frolic would be over in a moment. Cockroaches and other pests often creep up dirty drains and leave their filthy footprints all over your utensils. To ensure that every is safe from these pesky creatures use Godrej HIT. this would surely emerge victorious and keep you and your family safe.
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