Pahela Baishakh or the 1st of Baishakh is the beginning of the Bengali calendar. Unsurprisingly Bengali New Year’s festivities are closely linked with rural life. First started by Emperor Akbar on 10 March 1585 it became effective from 16 March 1586, the day of his ascension to the throne. The basis of the Bengali year is the Hijri lunar year (Muslim era counted from the year of Prophet Muhammad (SM)’s migration to Medina in 622 AD). The Bengali year, accepted at the grass root level irrespective of religious differences, was inaugurated due to practical necessities. A strong reason for the creation of the Bengali calendar was agriculture since the beginning of the Bengali year was a time fixed for tax collection from the farmers.
Traditionally, on Pahela Baishakh homes are thoroughly scrubbed and cleaned; people bathe early in the morning and dress in fine, colourful clothing. They spend much of the day visiting relatives, friends, and neighbors. Special foods like Biryani, Khichuri, Fruits & etc are prepared to entertain guests. This is one rural festival that has become enormously popular in the cities, especially in Dhaka and Chittagong where fairs, rallies and cultural events are a common sight on the 1st of Boishakh.
Source: New Nation