Nababorsho or Poila Boisakh – a quintessential Bengali celebration, of ringing in the New Year with fun, frolic and food. While growing up, Poila Boisakh meant new clothes and a table laden with food. As I grew up, I started understanding the true essence of the festival, which meant starting the new year on a brand new note, where we forgive and forget anything that bogged us down and usher in a fun filled year. Getting new clothes still mattered, but what mattered more was the spirit of the family bondings. Getting together with family over elaborate meals, non stop chatters and mindless giggles. Those were the days.
A lot changes over time but traditions have a habit of tagging along. Now married and with a family of my own, I too want to welcome the new year with open arms, love and lots of food! For a food blogger, that’s of utmost importance.
As per traditions, a day before Poila Boisakh, I cook up an elaborate vegetarian menu, a family tradition I carry from my paternal side. The idea is to cleanse your palate and your system, before gorging into the non vegetarian meaty fishy delights the next day. And also to have the first taste of seasonal vegetables like kancha aam( raw mango), Enchor ( raw jackfruit ) and Sojne Danta ( drumsticks)
New clothes still hold a very special place! Naboborsho is incomplete if you don’t don a dhakai or a taant – the exquisite sarees without which no Bengali woman is complete. I ensure that I dress my 8 yr old in a kurta – pajama and get one for the husband too. Sending a parcel full of new clothes to my family – ma baba , my little neice ,my sister is so much a part of my celebrations.
New age also means new age traditions. Living in a metro, we are flooded with options of dining out on Naboborsho, if cooking up an elaborate meal is not your thing , there is one waiting for you in every possible eatery in the city! I also take up the offer and do indulge in one authentic Bengali meal and make it a part of my celebrations.
On the first day of the year, however I ensure I cook up a few family favourites at home and make sure my friends are invited and made to taste the delicacies. A typical Naboborsho menu would include Chingri Malai kari , Kosha Mangsho, Polao and some Tomato chutney, to be rounded off with Mishti doi and rosogolla. To avoid sky rocketed prices of fish and meat, ensure you have your freezer stocked couple of days in advance.
With the extended family, scattterd all around the world, the wish to get everyone together on Poila Boisakh ,remains a distant dream. However, the cutting edge technology make it a bit easier. The true spirit of Nababorsho is too make sure you tell your loved ones that you miss them and wish them well always. So a phone call to all the mashis, pishis, kakus, mamas, channa – ponas is a must! That’s what I do every year.
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Wishing everyone Shubho Naboborsho filled with happiness, good luck and great times.
Disclaimer – This post is in association with Godrej Lal Hit.