The Bengali New Year celebration is known as “Poila Baisakh” which translates to the first month of the Bengali calendar. It is the first day of the Bengali New Year and usually falls in mid-April. It is a holiday filled with rejuvenation, rebirth and joy, much like new year’s celebrations in most countries around the world.
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The holiday is warmly celebrated throughout Bangladesh. Parades and loud festivals are held, many of which are similar to seasonal and agricultural festivals held during ancient times. Local agricultural products and crafts are sold at the more than 200 fairs held throughout Bangladesh on New Year’s Day. The traditional Charak Mela includes outstanding spiritual acrobatics as well.
On the day before, businessmen close their account of books and start new on Bengali New Year’s Day. It is believed that this renews and strengthens their business relationships with customers.
Cleaning is also an important tradition on this holiday. People bathe in the morning and don clothing made of the finest linen. Afterward, they visit friends and family, and gather to watch the parades or participate in the festivals.
Many people exchange sweets while younger people touch the feet of elders in order to seek blessings for the upcoming year. There is a custom to wear gem studded rings on this day in order to please the stars and planets as well. Handmade gifts and greeting cards are exchanged which are normally based on a local theme.
On the last day of the year, Bengali’s purchase copies of the Panjika, the Bengali almanac, a guide to festivals, favourable days throughout the next year.