Bangladeshi Noboborsho Feast-Panta Bhat, Ilish Maach
Noboborsho is celebrated by the people as first day of Bengali New Year on 14 April in Bangladesh and on 15 April in the West Bengal. This day is also called as Pohela Boishakh. The word Pohela stands for first day and Boishak is the first month of Bengali calendar. The most colourful Pohela Boishakh (Bengali new year’s day) festival now takes place in Dhaka. Large numbers of people gather early in the morning under the banyan tree at Ramna Park where chhayanaut artists open the day with Tagore’s famous song, Eso he Baishakh eso eso (Come O Baishakh, come), welcoming Baishakh.
Pahela Baishakh day is a celebration of Bengali culture with Panta Ilish and it has become a trend. Panta-ilish is probably the dish that will continually lure many people, at least on the eve of Pahela Baishakh. Panta Ilish a traditional dish of Panta Bhat (rice soaked in water ) with fried Ilish (Hilsha fish) slice, supplemented with Shutki (dried fish) paste, Achars (Pickle), Alu (potato) and dal (pulses) paste, green chili, fried red chili and onion is a popular serving for the Pohela Boishakh festival.
Noborsho or Pohela Boishakh celebrations are marked with joy, enthusiasm and hope. People of Bangladesh also celebrate the eve of Noborsho as Chaitra-Sankranti and bid farewell to the past year. Early in the morning of Noborsho , Bengali’s take out processions known as Mongol Shovajatra (Boishakhi parade) with popular Bengali character figure and mask. To participate in Mongol Shovajatra women clad themselves in traditional Bengali sari (white sari with red border) and flowers in hair while men wear white pajama (Trouser) and panjabi (Long shirt) with presence of red color. The day is spent in feasting and participating in cultural activities. People also visit friends and dear ones to wish each other “Shubho Noborsho!!
In pohela boishak, Bengali businessman perform Haalkhata festival which is the ritual of closing the old ledger and opening a new one with new entries on the first day of bengali new year. Traders send out invitations to old customers and entertain them with sweets.
In the road, front yard and staircases, miniature Aalponas (traditional art and designs) are drawn by means of bright colors like red, green, blue, yellow and white. On the face and hand of children and female, aalpona are also drawn to shine their happiness.
- For Panta Bhat:
- Steamed Rice/Siddo vat - as required
- Water - as needed
- For Ilish Fry:
- Ilish fish/hilsh fish - 8-10 pieces
- Salt - 1 teaspoon
- Red Chili Powder - 1/2 teaspoon
- Turmeric Powder - 1/2 teaspoon
- Oil for shallow fry
- For Garnish:
- Crispy Fried onion(Beresta) - 1/2 cup
- Dry Red Chili - 8-10 pieces roasted
- Soak the steamed rice in enough water for at least 2-3 hours preferable overnight.
- Serve with fried ilish, bhorta, roasted dry red chili, onion slices and extra salt.
- Mix salt, turmeric and red chili with fish pieces.
- Heat 1/2 cup oil a non-stick flat fry pan.
- Fry fish pieces until brown and crispy.
- Garnish with fried onion, roasted dry red chili and onion slices.
- Serve with panta bhat.