Bengal celebrates 'Poila Baisakh' with fervour
Kolkata: Poila Baisakh, the first day of Bengali New Year, was celebrated with much fervor by the people across the state with youngsters taking out colourful rallies to soak into the spirit of New Year festivities.
Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee extended greetings through a video message on the social media and wished happiness and prosperity to the people. She also offered prayers at the Kalighat temple on Sunday night.
Many people visited religious places such as Dakshineswar temple, Kalighat temple and Tarapith for an auspicious new beginning. With the day also marking the start of a new financial year, shopkeepers and businessmen observed the haal khata ceremony — closing their old account books and opening new ones. Businessmen thronged temples with their halkhata (account books) in the morning. Temples such as Dakshineswar, Kalighat and Tarapith witnessed a huge footfall on Monday. Adequate security arrangements were in place to handle the crowd. There was deployment of police personnel and civic volunteers in and around the temples to manage the extra rush.
A visitor, who came to Dakshineswar temple from Narayanpur, said he had to stand in the queue for more than an hour before offering puja. Another devotee Shibu Saha said he had been visiting the temple on the Bengali New Year for the past 20 years. "It feels great to welcome the New Year with a prayer to the Lord," Saha said.
North Bengal also celebrated the arrival of the New Year with gusto. Youths took out colourful rallies in Siliguri. State tourism minister Goutam Deb took part in a rally and local women clad in colourful dresses joined the event. There was great enthusiasm among the people. A cultural programme was organised at the Baghajatin Park in Siliguri.
The day was about dressing up in new clothes, exchanging pleasantries and greetings. Revellers, cutting across religious barriers, celebrated the day with family and friends. During this time of the year family members fly back to Bengal from across the world to be with their near and dear ones. All sorts of sweets starting from traditional sandesh (cottage cheese sweet), rosogolla (sugary spongy sweet) to sugar-free and fusion sweets kept flying off the shelves of confectioners. Traders welcomed customers with sweets and new Bengali calendars as people went on a shopping spree.