Celebrations and festivals have always been an integral part of life for the Bengalis all over the world. All the festivals are a part of the Bengali culture and tradition.
The Bengali New Year or the Naba Barsha is one of the major festivals in Bengal. It is also known as Poila Baisakh. The day falls usually on 15th of April and is considered as a national holiday in Bangladesh. The day is also considered as a local holiday in West Bengal.
The traditions of Bengal
The customs and the traditions associated with Poila Baisakh and other Bengali festivals are considered as an important factor among the people of Bengali community. The Bengali traditions and the culture are quite different from the other parts of India and are worth noticing.
Rabindranath Tagore is one of the most prominent and key figures in the cultural West Bengal and almost all the Bengali festivities are marked with Rabindra Sangeet to honor the great Poet. In fact such is the influence of Late Poet that it is almost considered as a tradition to learn Rabindra Sangeet during the early childhood years for the Bengalis.
Festivals in Bengal
While Durga Puja is the biggest festival in Bengal, there are other festivities that are equally celebrated with joy and happiness. While Durga Puja is a grand affair, festivities like Poila Baisakh are also celebrated with élan.
Traditions of Bengal
One of the most unique traditions of West Bengal is to serve food on the floor on a piece of Banana Leaf. There are individual carpet pieces that are also known as Ashan, are spread on the floor for the people to sit on. The person is then served with traditional Bengali food on a large piece of Banana Leaf.
Apart from the food, Bengal is known for its rich cultural influences like theatres, cinemas and folk music. The most popular form of folk music is Baul and it is richly influenced by the regional folk traditions from the core villages of West Bengal. Some other forms of folk music in Bengal include Kirtans, Bhawaiya, Gajan and also Gombhira. Usually the folk music, whether it is the Baul or the Kirtan, is associated and accompanied by a one stringed instrument known as Ektara.
The Bengali dance forms on the other hand draws their inspiration from the various folk traditions of Bengal, like the tribal dance form that is more prominent and evident in the tribal villages of West Bengal. The Chhau dance for instance is a form of Mask Dance and is much admired at different countries in the world. The Gaudiya Nritya is also a classic form of Bengali Dance that has its origin in Gaur, Malda district of West Bengal. Malda was in fact the ancient capital of Bengal. Apart from folk music and dance, different forms of music and literature are patronized as an essential culture of West Bengal.
The love for food of the Bengalis is legendary. Bengalis have very high regard for food so much so that there is a saying that there are only four great cuisines that are regarded highly around the world, of which one is Bengali. The other cuisines are Italian, French, and Chinese.
Nothing is said to get wasted in a Bengali kitchen. There is a recipe for every item that is available in the Bengali kitchen. Sounds delicious? Well, here is a quick look at any traditional Bengali platter. The authentic and traditional Bengali food includes Rice and Shukto which is actually a curry made with different vegetables and spices. Some other authentic Bengali dishes include a variety of fish, chicken and mutton. Sweets are a must item in any Bengali dish. The sweets are mostly made from Milk and people all over the world associate Kolkata with Rosogolla. Bengal is not only known for its sweets Rosogolla and Misti Doi, but can delight your taste buds with a variety of other sweets like Chomchom, Kalo jam, Rasamalai, Sandesh and Kalakand etc.
The Bengali cuisine is varied and is also very rich and makes use of variety of flavors and spices in its preparation. Fish is a dominant item in a Bengali platter and there has always been a sweet fight between the king of fish, Hilsa and the Prawns between the Bengalis who have their roots in West Bengal and in Bangladesh. In fact Hilsa and the Lobsters are considered as the icons of Bengali cuisine all over the world.