Bengali New Year (14th April)

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Known as PoilaBoishakh traditionally, or PahlaBaishakh, the date of 14th April marks the celebration of Bengali New Year in the country. The day is observed as per the Hindu Vedic Calendar in the month of Baisakh in Bengali, that is April, and hence, as per the Gregorian Calendar, it always falls on or around 14th of April every year. The day is observed as a national holiday in the neighbouring country of Bangladesh, while in India, it is treated as a public holiday by the states of West Bengal as well as Tripura, alongside any place where Bengali heritage is celebrated widely regardless of what religion people belong to.

The same day also marks the new year for other parts of India too, but it is celebrated with a different name and different style, for instance, it is celebrated as Vishu in Kerala, as Puthandu in the state of Tamil Nadu, and as simply Baisakhi, in the north Indian state of Punjab.

The celebration of Bengali New Year mainly sees Bengalis spending time with their friends and family, greeting each other by saying ‘’ShubhoNoboborsho’’ which in English means ‘’Happy New Year!’’ The day observes all Bengalis wearing new clothes, worshipping their deities, decorating their houses beautifully, putting alpanas on the floors, followed by visiting their near and dear ones, exchanging gifts, going to fairs and other events, which involve cultural activities like dancing, singing, art and other types of competitions. Food is a big part of the celebration and people relish a wide variety of delicacies including mouth-watering Bengali sweets.

A very prominent event called Mongol Shubhojatra is organized in the states of West Bengal and Tripura in India, and also in the neighbour country of Bangladesh. Such is its popularity that the event and the festivities organized by the Dhaka University in Bangladesh is also declared as a Cultural Heritage of Humanity by the UNESCO.

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