Funny Bone: Origin of the Bengali New Year :-)
Today is New Year’s Day for us Bengalis. If you were not aware, we, the Bengalis originate from a small state in the eastern part of India appropriately called “West Bengal” (and also Bangladesh).
You might be wondering why do we celebrate New Year’s in the middle of April. To understand that, you have to understand the top three characteristics of us Bengalis.
First, and foremost, we hate cold weather. “Thanda legey jaabey” (Thou shalt catch a cold) is the most commonly uttered full Bengali sentence. By far. The mercury has to hover somewhere around 80 degrees and we promptly adorn our heads with monkey caps (kind of a prehistoric version of ski mask). With a pompom on the top, to boot! Most of January we are under our “lep toshak” (quilts). Way too deep to come out and consider even remotely celebrating New Year’s. Mid April, on the other hand is nice and toasty in the high 80s. Which, is the perfect weather to come out and celebrate. A half sweater goes fine with that weather and celebrations.
Second, we are a little overwhelmed by the concept of New Year’s resolutions made on January 1st. Especially, since 73% of all such resolutions somehow need us to be in the gym. Gyms and us get along as well as the Kardashians and the concept of staying married. We simply don’t understand the unholy haste to sweat ourselves to death in the gym. We get enough practice in our crowded buses and trying to chase the crows away from the food on our balconies. We are doing just fine with our rice and rosogolla, thank you very much!
And third, we need our regular festivals and the associated one week casual leave from work every month. When it comes to actually working and the work hours, the French have nothing on us. We scoff at the concept that they waste their parliament’s valuable time passing laws limiting work to only 20 hours a week. That way we are very self reliant. We do that ourselves without needing any stupid laws to help us. For every month we have our earmarked festival – New Year’s in Jan, Saraswati Pujo in Feb, Dol in March, Pochise Boisakh in May and so on and so forth. April is the only month we had nothing. And thus, we chose April – and to be fair to the bordering months, we chose bang in the middle of the month of April to celebrate our New Year’s!
There! You have it now!!