(Nabo Barsho OR Bengali New Year) is indeed a momentous occasion in the life of each and every
Bengali. The day is marked by celebrations in families and communities. Everyone dresses up, men in white
"punjabi’s" and women in red saris. Family and friends are visited, and food is a major focus of the celebration. Special foods for the day are served. New Year is especially
colorful in the villages, with a day of sweets and special foods, music, dance and enjoyment.
Jiashthya from Jaishtha
Ashara from Shar
Shraban from Srabani
Bhadra from Bhadrapada
Ashwin from Aswaini
Kartik from Kartika
Agrahayon from Agraihon
Poush from Poushya
Magh from Magha
Chaitra from Chitra stars.
People make sure to clear their accounts with local shopkeepers, or "hal khata", the clearing of the books. And in their turn shopkeepers serve traditional sweets and tea to their regular customers.
It is the first day of Bangla calendar year. To every Bengali, young and old, rich and poor, wise and ignorant, it is a time of new hope, new resolution and new dream. It is a cruel irony of fate that a few orthodox Muslims in our country, shrouded by sheer ignorance, look down upon this Nababarsha festival, simply because they inadvertently consider it to be a festival of non-Muslim origin. But there is no shadow of doubt that the
Bengali calendar that we follow today was introduced by the Muslims in this sub-continent.
The calendar was originally known as Tarikh-e-Elahi and it was introduced on the 10th or the 11th March in the 29th year of Akbar's reign i.e. in 1585 A. D. It , however, dates from the day of Akbar's ascension to the throne of Delhi and commemorates his coronation as the Emperor of India in 1556.
The months of the new Bengali Era (or Tarikh-e-Elahi) were initially known as Karwadin, Ardi, 'Vihisu, Khordad, Teer, Amardad, Shahriar, Aban, Azur, Dai, Baham and Iskander Miz. Nobody knows for sure how and when we started naming the months as Baishakh, Jaishtha, etc. It is presumed that these months, based on the names of the stars, were derived from the Shakabda which was introduced in 78 A.D. to commemorate the reign of the Shaka dynasty in this subcontinent.
Some claim inadvertently that the Bangla calendar was introduced by Shashanka, king of Bengal, to commemorate his conquest of Assam. But records testify to the fact the Shashanka, son of Maha Sengupta, conquered Benaras and moved towards Chilka lake and never towards Assam.
Nababarsha or Pahela Baishakh (Ist of Baishak) was also introduced by Akbar the Great. After introducing Tarikh-e-Elahi, he abolished the hitherto practised Muslim festivals and replaced them by 14 new festivals, one of which was Nawroze or the celebration of the New Year's Day.