Nabobarsho, the traditions and must dos1:16 PM
A quintessential proverb in Bengal says, Bangalir baro mase tero parbon which literally means Bengalis celebrate more festivals than there are months. and amongst those numerous festivals Nabobarsho or the first day of Bengali year Baisakh is very important. In this changing time its one of those quintessential celebration that revolves around pure Bengali ways of life.
While growing up the elders instilled the thought that whatever you do or get on this day will keep on happening to you the year around. Following which we always wore new clothes and shoes and ate good food. And somehow that belief has stayed on with me. I keep telling my kids to be and to do good on this very first day to get good results in life.
As a true blue Bengali Nabobarsho is much more important for me than New year. For me it's the tradition which is more important so one of the must dos for me is to make handmade cards. not one, not two but plenty of them to wish 'shubho nabobarsho' or happy new year to all my dear one. We touch the feet of our elders to pay our respect and seek their blessings. For those who do not live nearby we call them up and wish them a happy healthy and prosperous year ahead. We also go to the Mandir to seek blessings from the almighty, after which the prasad is distributed between family and friends.
Another tradition that I follow is to visit the shops which I frequent all year around and wish them good for Halkhata or the new account ledger for new year. Its an important tradition as earlier families used to maintain due accounts for their monthly purchases, all payments were cleared at the beginning of every month. and On Nabobarsho everyone is supposed to clear their yearly dues and start a new ledger called Haalkhata. Though in this modern time Haalkhata is becoming obsolete yet business establishments follow the tradition and welcome customers with sweets and new calendars.
After that comes new clothes. It's a tradition to buy, wear and gift new clothes on this auspicious day and also one needs to have an iron strong willpower not to give in to the temptation of Choitro sale or end of the year sale. Which throws Bengalis to their most popular shopping sprees after puja . 'Shop till you drop' is the mantra of the month and sometimes the shopkeepers have to play the role of a referee to resolve the fight between two Bengali women over who saw that last piece of Dhakai saree first. I love my Choitro Shopping and buy loads of summer clothes for the entire family and some dear friends. But No matter what we purchase we always wear traditional clothes like saree, kurta-pyjama etc to channel our inner Bengali Babu/bibi vibe.
No festival is complete without an elaborate meal for us Bengalis. And the order of Nabobarsho is a pure Bengali meal of Pulao and Mangsho, a rich rice and meat combination followed by chilled mishti doi. Enough to send one to food coma.
Cleaning and decorating is also very important as we truly believe a new day must start on a new slate. and Nabobarsho being the advent of Summer, cockroaches and ants almost start to take over our entire house during this time. They are a big health hazard as they contaminate food and causes diarrhea and food poisoning. For me nothing works like Godrej Lal hit which with its deep reach nozzle can spray even at the remotest corner of the kitchen and make it insect free.
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