Bengali New Year 2024

14 April 2024
West Bengal    Regional holiday

Bengali New Year or Pohela Baisakh marks the first day of the initial month of Baisakh of the Bengali solar calendar. Bengalis all over the world welcome a new year on this day which falls in the month of April every year. In other regions of India, people celebrate the solar New Year, while the Sikh and Hindu communities celebrate the festival of Vaisakhi, also known as Baisakhi, the harvest festival. Bengalis clean and adorn their houses to welcome the New Year, and also make gorgeous colourful rangolis or Alpona outside their homes. They visit temples and pray for good fortune and prosperity in the coming year.

According to the Drikpanchang, the legend says that King Shoshangko of ancient Bengal is credited with starting off the Bengali era. The starting point of the Bengali era is thought to be in 594 in the Gregorian calendar. Hence, Bengali year is 594 less than the Gregorian calendar if it is before Pohela Boishakh or 593 less if it is after Pohela Boishakh. While some people argue about the origin of the Bengali calendar, it is believed that it was introduced by Emperor Akbar during recollection of taxes, and is a combination of solar Hindu calendar and the lunar Islamic calendar.

This day is also celebrated as a public holiday in Bangladesh due to their large Bengali population. Poila Baisakh also marks the starting of the new financial year for the Bengali business community. Hence people visit shops and buy valuables as it signifies good fortune. They also worship Lord Ganesha and Goddess Lakshmi on this day for prosperity and wealth. People wear new clothes and indulge themselves in sweet delicacies, to celebrate a new year. This day is celebrated with great vigour and enthusiasm in West Bengal and by all Bengalis throughout the world.