BENGALIS - Nababarsho
In Bengal, the New Year is referred to as Nababarsho or Poila Baishakh.
President of the Bengali Association Singapore Nikhilesh Gupta explained how the New Year is celebrated in India: "Usually on Poila Baishakh (around April 15), houses are cleaned and sometimes painted. People usually wear new clothes.
"Bengalis would visit family and relatives to wish them and get their blessings. New clothes are given to children and older family members.
"There is also an age-old tradition of cooking fish for lunch. Bengali businessmen buy new account books and start their accounting year. It is known as Haalkhata. Prayers are offered to Lord Ganesha and Goddess Laxmi in Bengali households. The evenings are packed with cultural programmes comprising music, dance, poetry recitals and drama," he said.
Added Mr Gupta: "In Singapore, Bengalis usually have gatherings where the usual Hilsha fish and other delicacies, especially the shandesh (a special sweet), are served. Greetings are exchanged through phone calls, social media and visits. The children wear new clothes just like they do in Kolkata. Cultural functions are quite common and the Bengali Association Singapore facilitates these by organising an exclusive Nababarsho evening every year with dances and music."