Naba Barsha is the celebration of Bengali New Year !! Naba Barsha in Bengal marks the first day of Baisakh - the first month of Bengali Calendar. The festival usually falls on the 13th or 14th day of April according to English Calendar Year. Naba Barsha festival is known as Poila Baisakh in Bangladesh and is celebrated as a national holiday.
Joyful and culturally rich people of West Bengal celebrate Naba Barsha by dutifully performing set customs and traditions. To welcome the New Year, people clean and decorate their houses. A very important tradition of Naba Varsha is the making of elaborate rangolis or alpanas in front of the house by womenfolk. Rangolis are prepared with flour and its center is adorned with earthenware pot decorated with auspicious swastika. This pot is filled with holy water and mango leaves to symbolize a prosperous year for the family. On Naba Barsha, people of West Bengal propitiate Goddess Lakshmi - the Hindu mythological Goddess of Wealth to pray for prosperity and well being. Many devotees also take a dip in a nearby river to mark the occasion.
For Bengalis, Naba Barsha is the beginning of all business activities. Businessmen and traders purchase new accounting books and start new account known as Haalkhata. People also worship Lord Ganesha by chanting mantras.
Naba Barsha celebrations are marked with joy, enthusiasm and hope. Songs, dance, games besides reciting of poems are organized in various parts of the West Bengal to mark the occasion. Enthusiastic people of Bengal also celebrate the eve of Naba Varsha as Chaitra-Sankranti and bid farewell to the past year.
Early in the morning of Naba Barsha, Bengalis take out processions known as Prabhat Pheries. To participate in Prabhat Pheris ladies clad themselves in traditional Bengali sari (white sari with red border) and flowers in hair while men wear dhoti kurta. The day is spent in feasting and participating in cultural activities. People also visit friends and dear ones to wish each other "Shubho Nabo Barsho !!"