It’s the beginning of the harvest season and the Indian New Year according to the Hindu solar calendars. Today and tomorrow, different regions of India are celebrating their respective new years. In Punjab, people celebrate Baisakhi today. The day is marked with feasting, singing, dancing and offering prayers to the almighty.
The day also marks the beginning of a new year. In 1699, on this day, the 10th guru of the Sikhs, Guru Gobind Singh, established the Khalsa (the pure one). By doing so he announced that all humans are equal and Guru Granth Sahib was declared the eternal guide and holy book of the Sikhs. Today, Sikhs celebrate Baisakhi as a religious festival.
In Kerala, it is called Vishu. The most important aspect is ‘vishukani’ – a ritual arrangement of various things like raw rice, cucumber, lemon etc which have to be seen the first thing in the morning. The day is marked with elaborate feasting and fun.
In Assam, it is Rongali Bihu, the first day of the Hindu solar calendar and the beginning of the cultivation season. Once again, there is joy in the air, traditional food prepared and general merriment.
The first day of the month of Baisakh is known as Poila Baisakh and is celebrated as the Bengali New Year. Bengali New Year (Bengali: Naba Barsho) or Poila Baisakh is celebrated in both Bangladesh and West Bengal, and in Bengali communities in all over India as well as in all the continents, where the Bengali community lives. This year, the Poila Baisakh of 1419 will be celebrated tomorrow, April 14, 2012.
Poila Baisakh festival is also a harvest festivity that marks the beginning of the crop cycle in Bengal. It takes place in the first month of the Bengali calendar, Baisakh. Poila Baisakh is celebrated with magnificent grandeur. It is on this day that wherever you go, you are offered yummy sweets. People also visit friends and dear ones to wish each other “Shubho Nabo Barsho!” Younger people touch the feet of elders and seek their blessings for the coming year.
People dress up in their best apparel and share joyous moments with friends and family. Houses are not only cleaned thoroughly, but also beautifully decorated. Women make awesome rangolis at the entrance of house. On this festivity, cultural programs are held. People greet each other and exchange sweets. Prayers are conducted to seek the divine blessings.
Shubho Nabo Barsho and Happy Baisakhi/Bihu/Vishu to everybody! Let us hope the New Year brings happiness, peace and prosperity for all of us.