Bengalis observe Probhat Pheri in the Park

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Nivedita Saha, Swastika Ganguly, Sangita Ukil, Poushali Banerjee, Sunayana Mukherjee, Aparna Mukherjee Chowdhury and Sohini Bhattacharya at the Probhat Pheri event (Photo Supplied)

Venkat Raman
Auckland, May 3, 2022

The Bengali community in Auckland marked ‘Probhat Pheri,’ a traditional observance that is on the wane, but the enthusiasm exuded was almost contagious.

Men, women and children assembled at Cornwall Park (opposite Cafe Bistro and Acacia Cottage) in Auckland’s Greenlane on April 24, 2022, to celebrate the Bengali New Year.

The event was organised by Nandan New Zealand, a social welfare organisation serving the Bengali community.

Nandan New Zealand Cultural Secretary Swastika Ganguly who organised the assembly with Sohini Banerjee (also Cultural Secretary) and members of the Executive Committee said that it was inspiring to witness a larger- than expected gathering to celebrate Probhat Pheri.

Early Morning Rounds

“In West Bengal, we usher in the New Year with ‘Early Morning Rounds’ (Probhat Pheri in the Bengali language) although this is on the wane. We are keen to revive it in New Zealand and this year’s programme was colourful. ‘Poila Boisakh,’ is the beginning of Baisakh year and a matter of cultural pride for Bengalis,” she said.

Swastika said that Nandan New Zealand President Tulika Duffadar outlined the importance of preserving the Bengali culture and heritage.

Sohini Banerjee, Swastika Ganguly, Parama Bose at Cornwall Park (Photo Supplied)

“This was followed by a few songs presented by our members, a few recitations, dance numbers by children and women. Food is an integral part of Bengali culture and as such, there was an elaborate preparation of various recipes prepared by our members. We never forget the importance of displaying our quintessential Bong culinary skills in style,” she said.

About Probhat (or Prabhat) Pheri

Swastika is justly proud that the community in Auckland is reviving a highly valued custom.

The Art of Living Foundation reiterates this tradition.

“Several decades ago, people used to rise early on ‘Prabhat Pheri’ Day to take rounds of the village chanting and singing bhajans and playing ethnic instruments. It is believed that this ritual invoked the good spirits, and would chase the evil spirits of the night, further welcoming the morning with good vibrations. It used to happen everywhere across the country, and it continued till it got shadowed by late-night partying and morning hangovers. But it is acknowledging to know that in some of the villages and tribes where belief is not considered superstition, people still get up in the morning, and roam around the village invoking the good spirits with chants, and music and rhythm coming out of eccentric instruments.”

Children playing at the Probhat Pheri gathering in Cornwall Park (Photo Supplied)

About Nandan

The primary goal of Nandan is to make Bengalis feel at home, located thousands of kilometres away from their Motherland. Throughout the year, Nandan organises cultural, and religious-social programmes like Independence Day, Durga Puja, Lakshmi Puja, Saraswati Puja, Annual Picnic and Pohela Boishakh (Bengali New Year), to mention a few. The Association also conducts its ‘Natak’ (drama), enjoyed by our members and non-members.

Website: http://nandannz.info

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