Not as exciting as the annual celebrations on December 31st, Naba Barsha or the Bengali New Year is one gala extravaganza that every Kolkattan awaits with much pomp and gaiety.
From ushering in the new year with solid resolutions of giving up malice and imbibing positivity, Poila Baishakh in Kolkata is an open party witnessed from households to as much as on the roads itself.
Just like every other new year, this too has its own rituals to embrace the Godly blessings and invoke good luck upon the family but is it only about prayers and parties?
Poila Baishakh is the first day of the Bengali Calendar and is also witnessed in states like Assam, Tripura, Jharkhand and cross borders in Bangladesh as well. The Gregorian calendar marks the ascent of the days to come for the Bengalis and is considered highly auspicious.
So what do you do when you don’t want to go to the mundane places to party and get soaked in alcohol?
There are a million other things you could incorporate in your day this Poila Baishakh to keep you on your toes and usher the New Year in on the 14th of April this year:
- Do not miss out on the customary puja at Kalighat temple. The hibiscus flowers and ‘peda’ Prasad are considered rituals the day cannot be complete without. After all seeking blessings of the almighty might just save your a** the year round. If you have your travelling shoes on, you can also head down to Dakhineswar or Belur.
- Forget vows, at least make a few resolutions you are bound to abide by. Thinking of quitting cigarettes? Do it! Thinking of asking the girl from St Xaviers out? Go for it! After all what’s the worse that could happen? It’s the new year after all. Hopefully everyone is in a good mood.
- Engage in some household chores and help out in the master kitchen and witness the chaotic mess that is created before the lip smacking dishes hit the table. Tie the apron round your waist and help out as you might also learn the ‘posto’ recipe and make your way into the heart of your beau with the ‘daab chingri’ you may have learnt. Cook up a storm!
- Once all the messy affair is dealt with, adorn yourself in the most gorgeous outfits you picked up at the ‘Chaitra sale’. When else would you strut down the roads wearing a Benarasi or a ‘Laal Paar sari’ with such swag? We definitely recommend heading down to ‘Jazzy Juelry’ that has the most alluring range of jewellery ranging from Jhumkas to Nose pins, Anklets to anything in gold and silver. A heads up- they have a flat 25% discount till the 14th on any item you purchase! Excited yet?
- As you await the ‘Kalbaishakhi’ to sweep you off your feet (not literally), run up to your terrace and call your friends and family to revel in a kite fight. After all it’ll be one of those days when there will be less pollution and you could probably see the planets from the sky.
- Do everything ‘Kolkata’. Yes! We mean it! Take a rickshaw ride to the nearest mela and buy anything you like for Rs 5. After all, the sheer exhilaration of purchasing stuff for throw away prices is better than hoarding up on expensive stuff. Gorge on puchkas, and definitely convince the meek at heart to try the ‘Nagordola’.
- As the day descends, gather around your folks and set up a bonfire. A touch of Rabindranath Tagore and a hint of Baul Sangeet are the perfect end to the day.
We believe that the need to make the 31st of December extravagant is so exaggerated that we completely side line the days that define us. Take up that pressure of trying to make Poila Baishkah equally exciting and enthralling and we guarantee the city has a lot to offer, you won’t even have to try, let alone feel stressed. After all, it’s the City of Joy for a reason, right? Shubho Nababarsha!