M3 Features

The charm of Chaitra

April 14, 2014

Baro Mashe Tero Parbon” is the best phrase to define a Bengali Calendar. It means “Thirteen Festivals in Twelve Months”. More precisely, there are possibly more festivals and celebrations in the Calendar than the number of days. Each of the months is given their own specialty, in terms of festivals, weather, season, occasions, and rituals. It is amusing to see how each Bengali month begins in the middle of each universal calendar month, and ends in the middle of the next, and also, a Bengali month can have thirty-two days too, which is unique.

The month of spring

The month of Chaitra in Bengal has probably got the least of events to celebrate, marriages and other ‘happy-n-prosperous’ rituals being banned in this month. It is similar for the month of Poush too, however, Poush beginning mid-December and ending mid-January, it has more celebrations in the universal calendar than the entire year! That does not go for Chaitra, beginning mid-March and ending mid-April with the biggest Bengali Celebration in the year (after Durga Puja) – the Poila Boisakh or the Bengali New Year’s Day.

Chaitra also brings the cyclonic storm – Kalboisakhi, a compulsory characteristic of the weather for this month, marking the onset of the prolonged summer months. There are innumerable stories, poetry and myths revolving around the Kalboisakhi.

Chaitra sale

We Bengalis cannot live without festivity at any time, given the fact of “Baro Mashe Tero Parbon”. Now, Chaitra, despite its terrorizing reputation, also comprises of several important events – the most important one being the “Chaitra Sale”. The New Year’s Day at the end of Chaitra marks the beginning of the Business Year for Bengali businessmen and salesmen with the Halkhata. Thus, the Chaitra Sale is the stock clearing sale before the New Year. In addition, the tradition is to wear new clothes and put up new upholstery on the New Year’s Day. So, its shopping time for all Bengali families.

A month long of sale taking its peak in the April towards the end of Chaitra, attracts large crowds to the markets. The famous Gariahat Market in Kolkata would collapse in the last week of the giant Sale, with footfall of thousands and an unruly traffic. It is almost like the few days before Pujas, when the last minute shopping is the cheapest in the year. Many Bengalis save up the last coins to spend on the necessities of the entire year in this Sale, the core mantra for the consumers being – Bargain!

Parting thought

Chaitramas is actually full of power of the upcoming joyousness and colors of life in the month of Boisakh. Without its negative existence, our year would never have been complete. In Bengali we say – “Shob Bhalo Jaar Shesh Bhalo” meaning “All is good when a good ending”. In the true sense, the Chiatramas brings the perfect ending to the year and becomes the devil’s boon – as the myth says the Creator had created the entire Universe with its wonders in this month of Chaitra!

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