Agartala/Kolkata/Thiruvananthapuram, Apr 14 : As traditional New Year festival is celebrated across the country on Monday hundreds of Chakma tribal youth, dressed in their traditional attire, participate in the Bizhu festival in Tripura.
Bizhu is the most important socio-religious festival of the Chakmas. This three-day festival is signified by the Bizhu dance, which welcomes the New Year.
"We bid farewell to the old year and welcome the New Year with this festival. We celebrate this festival to keep our culture alive so that the youth can know about our tradition," said Soma Dewan, a participant.
Bizhu lasts for three days. The first day is known as Phool Bizhu. On this day, household items, clothes are cleaned and washed, food items are collected to give the house a new look with the veil of different flowers.
Next morning, the 'Mull Bizhu' day starts with people taking a holy dip in the river.
Bizhu is a festival, which revolves around agricultural activities and is celebrated in mid-April when the first rainfall of the season is received.
In Kolkata, the Bengalis welcomed the New Year in their own unique way. They got artists from Bangladesh who made the atmosphere lively by displaying masks and beating drums.
"We don't have the tradition of using masks. We got these artists from Bangladesh to celebrate our festival," said Imamul Haq, General Secretary, Bangio Bhasha Parishad
Also Thiruvananthapuram witnessed New Year celebrations in the form of Vishu'. Vishu' is celebrated to mark the beginning of a new agricultural year.
Devotees thronged temples to make offerings of flowers and fruits.