The Bengali community of Auckland hosted an evening of merry-making and music at East Tamaki Community Centre on Saturday, April 15 on the occasion of Poila Boishak.

Poila Boishak for the Bengalis and Baisakhi festival for the broader Indian community is celebrated with immense vigour and joy by the Bengali community. The festival is one of the biggest for the Bengali community besides Durga Puja.

Probasee Bengali Association of New Zealand under which approximately 100 Bengali families are registered hosted a fun evening for its community members during the weekend. Unlike other events, Poila Boishak celebrations by Probasee Bengali was more like an open stage which gave its talented community members to come and perform on the stage- impromptu.

The small community centre in East Auckland was decorated in Bengali theme with food stalls, imitation jewellery, artefacts, paintings and traditional Bengali sarees for the women.

While children played amongst themselves, men and women danced and performed traditional folk Bengali songs with a band of musicians in the background. Such a vibrant environment prompted other community members to join the celebration and hum along with the singers.

“We wanted to make our celebrations to be less formal and more of a family gathering and get together. This gives our small community to mix and mingle with one another and makes the ambience livelier,” President of Probasee Bengali Association of New Zealand Jayanta Bhaduri told The Indian Weekender.

There are approximately 100 families who have registered with the Probasee Bengali Association and around 600 total Bengalis living in Auckland. The Durga Puja celebrations are the biggest festival of the Bengali community.The festivity thatlasts for at least ten days during the Diwali period witnesses one of the biggest footfalls of the Bengali community present in Auckland.

Representatives of the Probasee Bengali in conversation with The Indian Weekender also acknowledged its recent feat in cricket. The Probasee Bengali cricket team earlier in March won the Migrant Community Cricket Cup after 14-years of its participation in the tournament.

“I would like to acknowledge and congratulate our cricket team for lifting the championship trophy this year, after 14 years of its last win. The boys did well and made our Bengali community really proud,” Mr Bhaduri said.