Poila Baishakh in Kolkata — A Day of Good Food, Fun, and Socialising

These days, Dr. Rajat Chatterjee is often getting late in going to the hospital. His two daughters are vigorously practising for the upcoming cultural programme in the housing complex on Poila Baishakh. With their mother joining them, his breakfast is often late.

Nevertheless, he enjoys the new cultural environment in his house as his daughters start practicing early in the morning. The sound of ‘Esho he baishakh…’ brings an amazingly pleasant feeling to the tired mind of Dr. Chatterjee.

Yes, he is often tired these days as the pressure of patients is quite high in his hospital, what with the second wave of  Covid 19 going on. He feels the need for unwinding, relaxation, and listening to music is very effective to take his mind off the immediate problems even for a short period.

Rajat decided to give himself a break and enjoy Poila Baishakh with his family and neighbours in the community.

Poila Baishakh and Tagoreana

If there is one iconic Bengali whom every Bengali remembers on every occasion, be it Poila Baishakh, Doljatra, or Durga Puja, he is none other than Rabindranath Tagore. Baishakh is the month of his birth, and remembering him, reading his creations, and singing and listening to his songs is almost a religion to the Bengali bhadralok.

Poila baishakh is the harbinger of a new year, and Bengalis look forward to another good year with wistfulness.

In almost every locality, every gated community, a cultural programme takes place. It is common to hear the sounds of ‘Byartho praaner aborjona puriye phele aagun jwaalo’ as you pass by on this day.

Poila Baishakh is a day of social gathering to all Bengalis and singing of Tagore songs is an essential part of these gatherings.

Punjabi-Pyjama, and Saree are De Rigueur on this Day

Poila Baishakh is generally a holiday in Kolkata the common dress for this day remains punjabi-pyjama and saree. Wearing a western dress, even a shirt and a pair of pants is quite sacrilegious on this day. Going to the roots of Bengali culture is the overriding theme of the day.

Nowadays, a huge choice of punjabi-pyjama and sarees is available in every clothing shop. Gone are days of white Punjabi-pyjama and lalpar white sarees. Well-designed dresses are available in every clothing shop and online store.

In fact, Poila Baishakh is the second largest shopping season after the Pujas in Kolkata.

As this day is generally quite hot (being the first day of summer), traditional cotton dress is very comfortable.

Good Food Reigns Supreme

You will rarely find a Bengali who is not a food-lover.  Every Bengali can differentiate between great, not so great, and bad food. Poila Baishakh is a day to enjoy the best of Bengali culinary excellence.

Bengali cuisine is one of the richest and varied cuisines on the planet. On this day, even the culinary experience every Bengali wants is quintessentially traditional Bengali cooking.

From echorer dalna to kochi pathar jhol, from mochar ghonto to dab chingri, misti doi to rasogolla, a plethora of items satisfy the Bengalis on this day, while ampora sarbat cools the evening. Almost all restaurants prepare themselves with a Bengali fare on Poila Baishakh. Eating out is very popular in Kolkata and Poila Baishakh is one occasion when restaurants are full.

A lot of family and community gatherings take place on this day and the Bengali menu is de rigueur in each of them.

Welcome the New on Poila Baishakh

For Bengalis, Poila Baishakh is the day of welcoming the new. The day usually starts with puja, and for business owners, it is a special day to start the books for a new financial year. The day is considered auspicious and any high-value purchase like buying a home, car, or gold is made on this day. A number of businesses offer special discounts and incentives to buyers on this day.

In fact, a lot of homebuyers do the grihaprabesh puja on Poila Baishakh and start living in their new homes on this day. It is considered especially auspicious. Property developers in Kolkata take this opportunity to offer Nabo Barsho offer to homebuyers during this period. As this is the best time to buy a home, considering a host of factors like low interest rates, Nabo Barsho makes the perfect sense to finally book the home you are planning for some time.

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