Pohela Boishakh – Celebrating the Bengali New Year

Pohela Boishakh is the first day of Benagli New Year . It is also called “Shuvo Noboborsho” means happy new year. Pohela Boishakh is celebrated with great fervor in the South Asian region of Bengal (Bangladesh and Indian/West Bengal) and among Bengali communities living in the Indian states of Tripura and Assam (specially in Barak Valley).

Pohela Boishakh connects all Ethnic Bengalis irrespective of religious and regional differences. Ethnic Bengalis across the world and from all walks of life unite to celebrate the Pohela Boishakh to welcome the New-Year with a new hope of peace, prosperity and goodwill. Pohela Boishakh generally falls on 14th or 15th of April of the Georgian calendar.
Pohela Boishakh celebration dates back to Mughal Emperor Jalaluddin Muhammad Akbar’s reign. Akbar the Great, the renowned grandson of Zahiruddin Muhammad Babar was the 3rd Mughal Emperor. In order to ease tax collection, Akbar-e-Azam changed the tradition of agricultural tax collection according to Hijri calendar and ordered a reform of the calendar because the Hijri calendar, being a lunar calendar- did not coincide with the harvest sessions and thus the farmers faced severe difficulties in paying taxes out of season.

The Royal Astrologer of Emperor Akbar’s court, Aamir Fatehullah Siraji was the one who actually devised this calendar, after performing a research on the lunar Hijri and Solar calendar. The unique characteristic of the Bengali year was that, rather than being a lunar calendar, it was based on an amalgamation of the solar and lunar year. This was indeed a great development, as the solar and lunar years were formulated in very different methods. Initially this calendar was named as “Fasli San” (agricultural year) and then Bônggabdo or Bangla Year.

Above Photo : Bengali community members celebrating New Year in Victoria, British Columbia. Festivities began this week in Bangladesh and Nepal as both countries celebrated their own new years. The Bengali calendar is solar, with the year beginning on Pohela Boishakh which this year falls on April 14, while in Nepal, the new year ’Sindoor Jatra’ was celebrated to welcome the advent of spring.