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Red and White for Pohela Boishakh

  • Rohon Newaz
  • Rohon Newaz
  • 14 Apr 2019

Pohela Boishakh red bangles

On Pohela Boishakh, right from the ‘Mongol Shobhajatra’ – a pompous procession of color, music and jolly spirited Bengalis at dawn, marking the festival for all it is: leaving behind the year that is gone, moving forward with determination and spreading positivity of well-being, red and white wins as it is a big part of the Bengali New Year tradition for men to dress in white Punjabi and women to drape themselves in white sarees with red borders.


How It Is

In this country, Pohela Boishakh has grown not to be limited to just that one day of the 14th April. The preparation begins much earlier for it has become important for everyone to be at their Bengali-best on the day. Moms and aunts would be busy putting their culinary skills into traditional Bengali food preparations right from bhortas to sweets and certainly not forgetting ‘Panta-Elish’. They might even serve you in clay utensils while the youngsters would be busier hopping around restaurants and events to blend into the merry festivities followed by an evening of soul-feeding folk music gala with friends and loved ones.

Going Back

Given Pohela Boishakh dates back to the 15th century, prioritizing red and white for the date is self-explanatory: Mughal Emperor Akbar, during his reign merged lunar Islamic calendar and solar Hindu calendar to have a secular ‘harvest calendar’ for all his people. This is where this festival began: the first day of harvest!

This is the very reason why even today a new account – ‘hal khata’ is opened on Noboborsho. If you enter any business premises on the day, you will be greeted with traditional sweets. It goes as far as sending boxes of sweets and goodies to customers at their homes! Having that said, the red and white color code is an inspiration itself from the Hindu Swastika sign and is also evident in the festival’s alponas with which adornment at home and outside is done. The alpona is more significant now and Bangladesh has even made a record for having the world’s largest alpona on Pohela Boishakh. This occasion is simply a harmonious collaboration of Hindu and Muslim culture which together gives Bengali their identity.

It Goes Places

Not that Pohela Boishakh is only celebrated in Bangladesh, the festival is BIG in India as Hindus and Sikhs call it ‘Vaishakhi’ as well as in Nepal, Sri Lanka, and Cambodia and in Thailand. This Bengali form of New Year celebration found yet another level of global grandeur with Pakistan trying to stand against it for being a secular-festival. In 2016, Pohela Boishakh has been declared by UNESCO as the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity. It is recognized and celebrated world-wide, for it adds the essence of home to even Bengalis living abroad.

While we at City Alo wish this Pohela Boishakh to be nothing less than a boon to abundant good luck to you and your loved ones, we also invite you to join us on the 15th and the 16th of April, at our City Alo Flagship Brunch for the Pohela Boishakh celebration especially design for you with photo booth, mehendi corner, music, mouthwatering Bengali food and laughter!


Shubho Noboborsho!

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