New Delhi: Visits to temples and exchange of
sweets on Friday marked the celebrations of the Bengali new year
`Poila Baisakh`, Kerala`s summer harvest festival `Vishu` and
`Rongali` Bihu heralding the Assamese New Year.
In poll-bound West Bengal, Trinamool Congress chief Mamata
Banerjee began her day very early by going to the famous Kali
temple at Kalighat in Kolkata, taking a short break from her
busy campaign schedule.
`Prabhat Pheris` (morning cultural processions) were taken
out in many localities, especially in north Kolkata where
children danced to the accompaniment of Tagore`s songs
heralding the advent of `Baisakh`, the first month of the
Bengali New Year.
Long queues were seen before restaurants serving Bengali
Devotees also thronged the Kali temple at Dakshineswar
after taking holy dip in the river Ganga to seek blessings for
prosperity. The trader community opened new account books
after observing rituals.
The Malayali community in Kerala celebrated their summer
harvest festival Vishu with traditional fervour.
In wee hours people woke up to see the `Vishu Kani`, the
ceremony of looking at auspicious articles such as rice, gold,
the glowing seasonal flower `konna` and fruits and vegetables
tastefully arranged in platters.
There was a heavy rush in temples across the state
including the famed Sabarimala Ayyappa shrine and Guruvayoor
The festival, which came shortly after Wednesday`s polling
for the 140-member state Assembly, turned out to be a day of
relaxation for politicians who were busy in the month-long
In Assam, the three-day annual `Rongali` or `Bohag` Bihu
festival heralding Assamese New Year began with traditional
merrymaking and celebrations across the state.
The festival, usually associated with the preparation of
paddy fields for the coming sowing season, has moved from the
rural ambience to the urban stage with almost all localities
in Guwahati organising special cultural programmes.
People enjoyed the lilting Bihu songs to the beating of
drums and cymbals which came after the din and bustle of
campaigning for the Assam Assembly polls.