Bangladeshi calendar

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The Bangladeshi calendar (Bengali: বাংলা সাল, also called the Bangla Year) is a civil calendar used in Bangladesh, alongside the Gregorian calendar and the Islamic calendar. With roots in the ancient calendars of the region,[1][2][3] it is based on Tarikh-e-Ilahi (Divine Era),[4] introduced by the Mughal Emperor Akbar on 10/11 March 1584. Amartya Sen states that only traces of Akbar's influence survive.[5] The calendar is important for Bangladeshi agriculture, as well as festivals and traditional record keeping for revenue and taxation.

Bangladeshi land revenues are still collected by the government in line with this calendar.[6] The calendar's new year day, Pohela Boishakh, is a national holiday.


The Saka Era was the widely used in Bengal, prior to the arrival of Muslim rule in the region, according to various epigraphical evidence.[7][8] The Bikrami calendar was in use by the Bengali people of the region. This calendar was named after king Vikramaditya with a zero date of 57 BCE.[9] In rural Bengali communities, the Bengali calendar is credited to "Bikromaditto", like many other parts of India and Nepal. However, unlike these regions where it starts in 57 BCE, the modern Bangladeshi and Bengali calendar starts from 593 CE suggesting that the starting reference year was adjusted at some point.[10][11]

Akbar's influence[edit]

Crop cycle's depended on solar calendars. The Islamic lunar calendar of the Mughal government, before Akbar's era caused problems in tax collection since the lunar year was shorter than the solar year by about eleven days per year.[12][13] Akbar commissioned his astronomer Fathullah Shirazi to develop a new syncretic calendar to allow land tax and crop tax collection according to the harvest cycles. In 1584, Emperor Akbar commissioned a new calendar as part of tax collection reforms.[2][3][12]

Shirazi's new calendar was known as the Tarikh-e-Ilahi (God's Era).[5][12][14] It used 1556 as the zero year, the year of Akbar's ascension to the throne.[5][12] The Tarikh-e-Ilahi calendar were one of the syncretic reforms Akbar introduced, along with a new religion called Din-ilahi, a syncretic faith that integrated Islam and Indian religious ideas.[15] However, Akbar's ideas were almost entirely abandoned after his death, and only traces of the Tarikh-e-Ilahi calendar survive in the modern Bengali calendar, according to Amartya Sen.[5]

Shamsuzzaman Khan believed that Nawab Murshid Quli Khan was responsible for widely implementing the tax collection according to the Bengali calendar throughout Bengal. Khan promoted celebrations of the Punyaha, a ceremonial collection of land taxes.[16] The calendar year became known as the Bangla san in Arabic and Bangla sal in Persian; both terms mean the Bangla Year.[17]

In 1966, a committee headed by Muhammad Shahidullah was appointed in Bangladesh to reform the traditional Bengali calendar. It proposed the first five months 31 days long, rest 30 days each, with the month of Falgun adjusted to 31 days in every leap year.[3] This was officially adopted by Bangladesh in 1987.[3][18]

Months and seasons[edit]

The calendar has 12 months and 6 seasons, which are illustrated in the table below.[12]


The following illustrates the 7-day Bengali week.[12] Bengali weekdays are named after deities of celestial bodies in the Surya Siddhanta, an ancient treatise on Indian astronomy.

Bengali Day Celestial body Gregorian equivalent
Robibar Sun Sunday
Shombar Moon Monday
Mongolbar Mars Tuesday
Budhbar Mercury Wednesday
Brihospotibar Jupiter Thursday
Shukrobar Venus Friday
Shonibar Saturn Saturday

Era and zero year[edit]

The government and newspapers of Bangladesh widely use the term Bangla shal (B.S.). For example, the last paragraph in the preamble of the Constitution of Bangladesh reads "In our Constituent Assembly, this eighteenth day of Kartick, 1379 B.S., corresponding to the fourth day of November, 1972 A.D., do hereby adopt, enact and give to ourselves this Constitution."[19]

The zero year in the Bangladeshi calendar era is 593 CE.[5][10][11][20]


The following lists major festivals on the Bangladeshi calendar.

Pohela Boishakh[edit]

The first day of the month of Boishakh ushers the Bengali New Year and is known as Pohela Boishakh. The festival is similar to New Year's Day, Nowruz and Songkran. The cultural organization Chayanat hosts a notable concert in Ramna Park, starting at dawn on 14 April in Dhaka. The Mangal Shobhajatra parades are brought out in many Bangladeshi cities during the festival and is regarded by UNESCO as an intangible cultural heritage.

The Bengali New Year's Day on 14 April is a national holiday in Bangladesh.

Haal Khata[edit]

Traders start a new Haal Khata book on Pohela Boishakh to keep financial records and settle debts.[17]

Boishakhi Mela[edit]

The Boishakhi Mela are fairs organized on Pohela Boishakh.[17]

Pahela Falgun[edit]

Pahela Falgun (Bengali: পহেলা ফাল্গুন romanised: Pohela Falgun), meaning the first of Falgun, is the first day of spring in the Bangladeshi calendar.

Boli Khela[edit]

In the Chittagong region, the Boli khela wrestling matches are organized during the month of Boishakh.[17]

Cattle racing[edit]

Cattle races are a popular activity in Manikganj and Munshiganj districts during Boishakh.[17]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Nitish Sengupta (2001). History of the Bengali-speaking people. UBS Publishers' Distributors. pp. 76–77. ISBN 978-81-7476-355-6. Some historians attribute it [the Bengali calendar] to King Sasanka of Gaur (C 606-637) ... Whether this was started by Sasanka or whether it was a modification of the Hijra calendar ... and came to Bengal along with the Turkish conquest is difficult to answer. But clearly this is the calendar starting around AD 595, which was given recognition as the standard Bengali calendar either by Hussain Shah or by Akbar.
  2. ^ a b Guhathakurta, Meghna; Schendel, Willem van (2013). The Bangladesh Reader: History, Culture, Politics. Duke University Press. pp. 17–18. ISBN 9780822353188.
  3. ^ a b c d Kunal Chakrabarti; Shubhra Chakrabarti (2013). Historical Dictionary of the Bengalis. Scarecrow. pp. 114–115. ISBN 978-0-8108-8024-5.
  4. ^ Nanda R. Shrestha (2002). Nepal and Bangladesh: A Global Studies Handbook. ABC-CLIO. p. 200. ISBN 978-1-57607-285-1.
  5. ^ a b c d e Amartya Sen (2005). The Argumentative Indian: Writings on Indian History, Culture and Identity. Farrar, Straus and Giroux. pp. 319–322. ISBN 978-0-374-10583-9.
  6. ^ "Our fiscal year should be based on Bangla calendar". The Daily Star. 17 April 2008.
  7. ^ Richard Salomon (1998). Indian Epigraphy: A Guide to the Study of Inscriptions in Sanskrit, Prakrit, and the Other Indo-Aryan Languages. Oxford University Press. pp. 148, 246–247, 346. ISBN 978-0-19-509984-3.
  8. ^ D. C. Sircar (1996) [First published 1965]. Indian Epigraphy. Motilal Banarsidass. pp. 241, 272–273. ISBN 978-81-208-1166-9.
  9. ^ Eleanor Nesbitt (2016). Sikhism: a Very Short Introduction. Oxford University Press. pp. 122, 142. ISBN 978-0-19-874557-0.
  10. ^ a b Morton Klass (1978). From Field to Factory: Community Structure and Industrialization in West Bengal. University Press of America. pp. 166–167. ISBN 978-0-7618-0420-8.
  11. ^ a b Ralph W. Nicholas (2003). Fruits of Worship: Practical Religion in Bengal. Orient Blackswan. pp. 13–23. ISBN 978-81-8028-006-1.
  12. ^ a b c d e f "Bangabda - Banglapedia". Retrieved 2017-04-27.
  13. ^ William D. Crump (2014). Encyclopedia of New Year's Holidays Worldwide. McFarland. pp. 27–. ISBN 978-0-7864-9545-0.
  14. ^ R. Nath (1985). History of Mughal Architecture. Humanities Press. p. 42. ISBN 978-0-391-02681-0.
  15. ^ Manav Ratti (2013). The Postsecular Imagination: Postcolonialism, Religion, and Literature. Routledge. p. 83. ISBN 978-1-135-09689-2.
  16. ^ Amitava Kar (18 May 2013). "A Giant in Our Cultural History". The Daily Star. Retrieved 2017-04-27.
  17. ^ a b c d e Shamsuzzaman Khan (14 April 2014). "Emergence of Bengali New Year and Calendar". The Daily Star. Retrieved 2017-04-27.
  18. ^ Syed Ashraf Ali (2012). "Bangabda". In Sirajul Islam; Ahmed A. Jamal (eds.). Banglapedia: National Encyclopedia of Bangladesh (2nd ed.). Asiatic Society of Bangladesh.
  19. ^ "Constitution of the People's Republic of Bangladesh".
  20. ^ Jonathan Porter Berkey (2003). The Formation of Islam: Religion and Society in the Near East, 600-1800. Cambridge University Press. p. 61. ISBN 978-0-521-58813-3.