I’m living in the 15th century and i’m loving it! 🙂
I know what you’re thinking, at this instant. That either its a new decor up do or I need a shot of brandy. Honestly, no to both ‘coz I really am living in the 15th century. That’s where we are according to the Bengali calendar!
We welcomed 1418 yesterday and it was celebrated all over West Bengal, Bangladesh and in Bengali communities across the world, irrespective of religion, caste and creed.
Poela Boishakh or the 1st of “boishakh” marks the beginning of summer. According to Bengali Calendar, Boishakh & Joishtho are the two summer months that continues till mid June, where after follows “Borsha” or the great Indian monsoon. A fun affair for the Bengalis or bongs, as we are called, this entire knowhow would be incomplete without a little detailing. Read on:
Who created it: The Mughals. Reformed the calender so that the harvesting period matches to that of the collection of taxes.
The Reason: To clear debts on the last day of the year and begin a debt-free, prosperous year ahead. Business men, still today, close their ledgers on this day and begin the new accounts ledger.
Float Parades: The creative custom: A projection of freedom and happiness, people march with hand crafted and hand painted floats and masks. I’ve never really had the opportunity to witness this particular event but if I get a chance, I wouldn’t miss it for anything.
Elish mach, panta bhaat, chholar daal: The bare minimum. Hilsa with rice and split bengal gram.
New clothes: Optional if you are someone like me who buys year round.
I celebrated “poela Boishakh” with R. But I changed the menu a bit; panta bhat is not really my taste and neither is R’s. Hence, for us it was “Rui macher Jhol” (Rohu in gravy) and “Chindgri macher malaicurry” (Prawns cooked in coconut milk, with garlic and cayenne peppers) served with plain white rice. Recipes in the next post!