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For Many Indian and Bengali Families, There's Nothing Like New Year's in April

It's mid-April, and that means New Year's time for many Indian and Bengali families. These Hindu celebrations differ by region. Here's a rundown of some of the festivals:


• Poila Baisakh | Bengali New Year


"It’s one of my favorite holidays, filled with a blend of colorful traditions and communal reflection," writes Mitul Daiyan. "My relatives back home in Bangladesh celebrated the holiday with elaborate festivities that include going around town visiting family and friends, dressing up in traditional garb, and attending parades showcasing talented Bengali artists and performers. Here in America, the celebrations are not quite as elaborate but the traditions are kept alive within the Bengali community."


Read more about Poila Baisakh here and here.


Vishu | Kerala New Year | Malayalam New Year


"The day begins by looking at the Vishukani, where auspicious things – a vessel containing fruits, rice, a mirror, gold and cash – are arranged," Tanvi Nair, who lives in Mumbai but is from Kerala, told the Times of India. “It’s symbolic of prosperity and happiness. This is followed by a grand sadya [traditional feast] with near and dear ones in the afternoon. Another popular tradition is Vishu Kaineettam – elders giving money as a token of love and blessing to the younger ones. The festival serves as an opportunity for family members staying across the city to come together and recreate a mini version of what it would be like in Kerala."

Read more about Vishu here.


Rongali Bihu | Bohag Bihu | Assamese New Year

"[As I was] born and raised in Assam and surrounded by Assamese people, Bihu is very close to my heart. Sitting in a distant land, I recollect the excitement of those days," writes Sarika Sarkar Das. "Music plays [a] central role in Bihu. Young boys and girls in their traditional costumes go from house to house or collect in an open area to celebrate Husori – a traditional carol."


"Bihu is mainly a harvest festival, wherein the farmers thank the lord for the successful harvest and welcome the spring season. It has been derived from the Sanskrit word bishu, which means “to ask for prosperity from the Gods during the harvesting season." [Indian Express]




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