An important festival in West Bengal, Naba Barsha is the New Year of Bengalis. This colorful festival is a held on the first day of Baishak (April), the first month of the Bengali year. People believe that this festival brings a new beginning, a new hope, a year full of joy, well-being and prosperity.
Mostly it is the festival of businessmen and traders. Naba Barsha day is the beginning of all business activities in the state. On this day, they purchase their new accounting books and start their new accounts known as ‘Haalkhata’.
On this day, all Bengalis clean and decorate their houses. Ladies and girls draw rangolis in front of their house. An earthen pot decorated with a red and white swastika is kept in the middle of this design, which is considered an auspicious sign. The pot is filled with pure water and mango leaves to symbolize a prosperous year for the family.
During this day, womenfolk dress up in traditional Bengali saree (white saree with red border) and wear garlands of different types of flowers in their hair. Men wear dhoti-kurta and take part in early morning processions known as 'Prabhat pheries' Worship of Lord Ganesh and Goddess Lakshmi is an inescapable part of this festival.
People spent the whole day participating in various cultural activities, which include devotional music, dances, rituals, kite-flying, ox fighting and other regional games. On this favorable day, people wish each other 'Shubho Nabo Barsho'. The festival is also celebrated by the tribal people who live in the hill areas of the state.
In Bangladesh, Naba Barsha is known as the Poila Baisakh, which is celebrated as a national holiday.