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The Bengali calender is loosely tied with the Hindu Vedic Solar Calender, based on the Saury Siddhanta. As with many other variants of the Hindu solar calendar, the Bengali calendar commences in mid-April of the Gregorian year. The first day of the Bengali year therefore coincides with the mid-April new year in Mithila, Assam, Burma, Combodia,Kerala, Manipur,Nepal, Odisha, Sri-Lanka, Tamil Nadu and Thailand.
Mughal Emperor Jalaluddin Muhammad Akbar, the renowned grandson of Zahiruddin Muhammad Babar was the 3rd Mughal Emperor, introduced the Bengali Calendar. In regards of relatively easier tax collection, Akbar-e-Azam changed the practice of agricultural tax collection according to Hijri calendar and ordered an improvement of the calendar because the Hijri calendar, being a lunar calendar- did not agree with the harvest sessions and eventually the farmers faced severe difficulties in paying taxes out of season.
The regal astrologer of Emperor Akbar's reign, Aamir Fatehullah Siraji , was the one who in fact developed this calendar, after working out a research on the lunar Hijri and Solar calendar. The distinctive characteristic of the Bengali year was that, rather than being a lunar calendar, it was based on a union of the solar and lunar year. This was essentially a great promotion, as the solar and lunar years were formulated in very diverse systems.
In Kolkata, Pohela Boishakh (and indeed the entire month of Boishakh) is considered to be an auspicious time for marriages. These days people wear new clothes and go about socialising. Choitro, the last month of the previous year, is the month of hectic activities and frantic purchases. Garment traders organise a Choitro sale and sell the garments with heavy discounts.
Pohela Boishakh is the day for cultural programmes. Prayers are offered for the well-being and prosperity of the family. Young ladies clad in white saris with red borders and men clad in dhuti and kurta take part in the Probhat Pheri processions early in the morning to welcome the first day of the year. This day being auspicious, new businesses and new ventures are started. The Mahurat is performed, marking the beginning of new ventures.
Pohela Boishakh is the beginning of all business activities in Bengal. The Bengali Hindu traders purchase new accounting book. The accounting in the halkhata begins only after offering puja. Mantras are chanted and ???????? shostik ("Hindu swastika") are drawn on the accounting book by the priests. Long queues of devotees are seen in front of the Kalighat temple from late night. Devotees offer puja to receive the blessings of the almighty.
On Pohela Boishakh various fairs are held in West Bengal. The most famous of these is Bangla Sangit Mela, held at Nandan-Rabindra Sadan ground. This fair is conducted by the Government of West Bengal.
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