Cheers to the beginning of a new year. Our non-Bong friends might wander why we are wishing each other Happy New year in the middle of April. The Bengali calendar or Bangabdo refers to sidereal solar Hindu calendar, which starts from Poila Baisakh (or the first day of the month of Baisakh) and it generally falls on the 14th of April.
The wiki page on Bengali calendar says that this calendar was introduced by one of the ministers of the Mughal empire during the 16th century for the sole purpose of tax collection in Bengal. Some even say that the calendar started from the time of emperor Shashangko.
We Bengalis take the first day of the year very seriously. And, when I say seriously that means whole lot of shopping and even more eating. If you ever try visiting the shopping districts of Kolkata and for that matter in Bengal during this time of the year there will be a huge “end of season sale”. Everybody out in the streets buying something or the other.
While the shopping is going on, there is always the good old street food stalls to gorge on. And, when it comes to street food how can we not mention phuchka, the world famous born in Kolkata typical Bengali golgappa.
The new year always begins with wearing new dresses. As a kid, I always used to look forward for this day, other than of course the time during pujas, when you get loads of clothes even from relatives you meet not more than once a year.
now, when Bengalis are celebrating something there cannot be a lack of food. Poila baisakh is another day of feasting on the Bengali calendar. A wholesome meal is served any all households. And, to ease out this year’s plan on what to cook for your family and friends here’s a list of the authentic Bengali platter.
There is a whole lot of option for the lunch menu. A Bengali meal always start with shukto. Shukto helps as an appetizer and the bitter taste of the bitter gourd helps to cleanse your taste buds for the dishes to follow.
Bengali meal without fish is like rasogolla without the sweet syrup. There is a huge number of fishes available in the markets, here a what you can do with those.
As the meal continues, fish is followed by any type of meat. Mutton is the most preferred when it comes to a festive platter, but because of huge count of heart diseases in most families people are going for the chicken curry.
Hope you enjoyed the meal. Let us know what you made or had for Poila Baisakh. Subho Nabobarsho.
Oh, I just forgot to mention the photo of the platter served is from my ayeburobhaat, my last meal as a maiden. Bhalo kore kheyo !