Poila Boishakh or Pohela Boishakh is synonymous to innumerable celebrations of the first day of harvest across India, and the Bengali community of Auckland welcomed the harvest month in their own style.
Even though the Bengali community in New Zealand is very small, the celebrations of this community have never failed to impress its audiences that included non-Bengali speaking members of the community.
Bengal is known for its street food, mishit doi (sweetened yoghurt) and roshogullah, art and craft and music. Minus the mishit doi, everything else was on display for the public at the Bongo Mela 2019 held on Saturday evening, April 13 at Western Springs Community Centre where the Probasee Bengali Association of New Zealand hosted the Bengali New Year celebrations for its members.
Approximately 400 Probasee Bengalis turned up to the celebrations enjoying the classical music and the ambience of Bengal in one place.
The community centre was decorated with Bengali artefacts’ stalls, traditional Bengali clothing for both men and women, and most important of all- the authentic street food of Kolkata prepared by the members from their homes that mesmerised the taste buds of the visitors.
Eleven stalls of homemade food were offered to the visitors of the event- the dishes and snacks including the famous Bengali fish chops, kachagola, samosa chats, kachuri, kebabs, mishit pulao, puchhka, jhaalmuri, etc.
“We had a great turn out to this event, and we wanted visitors to get the feel of being in their own hometown, so we gave the whole place in a traditional Bengali outlook,” General Secretary of Probasee Bengali, Sudeshna Giri told the Indian Weekender.
“Food was one of our highlights for this event- for you see when you visit melas (carnivals) in Kolkata or anywhere in West Bengal, people love to have street food there which is one of our signatures, so we made sure that we had at least ten food stall serving a variety of dishes homemade by our community members,” Ms Giri added.
Several young community members participated in singing Bengali folk songs and dances.
The event also observed a minute’s silence for one of the founders of Probasee Bengali Association of NZ, Amit Sengupta (Senior) who passed away a week before the event.