Friday, April 13, 2012

Kolkata and West Bengal | কলকাতা এবং পশ্চিম বঙ্গ

Kolkata, the sovereign of Bengalis in India; witnesses some of the grand celebrations of Poyela Boishakh. In Kolkata and rest of Indian/West Bengal, Poyela Boishakh and indeed the entire month of Boishakh is considered auspicious time for marriages, opening of new business ventures etc. Choitro is the Last month of the Bangla year; the garment traders give special discounts throughout the month. The last day of Choitro, is celebrated as Choitro Sankranti among the Hindu community, and Charak Pujo is held on this day. On this very same day Charak Mela/fair is organized in various parts of rural Bengal; some really miraculous acrobatics are performed by the members and these stunts are quite risky indeed.The day of Poyela Boishakh is a day of cultural events. Like Bangladesh, here also people wake up & bathe early in the morning and dress up in traditional Bengali attire. Many go for Probhat Pheri (a parade similar to “Shobhajatra” in Bangladesh, but it’s not as colorful as that) to welcome the first day of the New Year singing Rabindra Sangeet, here also the song “এসো, হে বৈশাখ, এসো এসো” Esho, he Boishakh, Esho Esho is very popular.

Pohela Boishakh is also the occasion when the whole family comes for a get together; youngsters touch feet of elders seeking benediction (আশীর্বাদ), and peers greet each other Suvo Nôbobôrsho with a hug (Kolakuli কলাকুলি). The celebration remains incomplete without “mishit mukh” exchanging sweets with the near and dear ones.

Businessmen open new accounting books (HalKhata) on this day; for the Bengali Hindu businessmen HalKhata begins only after performing puja, “Swastik” sign is drawn on the HalKhata by the priests. Devotees are seen in front of the Kalighat temple (কালীঘাট মন্দির), in long queues, from late night. Devotees offer Puja to receive the blessings of the almighty.
The Government of West Bengal organizes various fairs and cultural events in different parts of the state. The most famous of these is Bangla Sangit Mela, held at Nandan-Rabindra Sadan ground.
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