By Shyamal Majumder

KOLKATA: Pohela Baishakh, the first day of the Bengali New Year, connects all the ethnic bengalis. It is an auspicious occasion to the bengal and bengalis, and like all other bengalis, Kolkata’s football communite also celebrate the day with great respect in form of Bar Puja.

Just a couple of decades back Bar Puja happens to mark the beginning of the new season in Kolkata football. Clubs were used to unveil their team for new season with players performing rituals. But since the change in country’s football calender mainly after the inception of NFL/I-League, it became literally impossible for clubs to unveil their team on the day. Nevertheless, still the rituals does held in clubs to continue the unique tradition as old as the legacy of Kolkata football.

Basically the main reason behind the Bar Puja is to please the all mighty to get success in the season ahead. Goalpost and ball is worshiped as God on the occasion.

East Bengal usually name their captain for the coming season at Bar Puja and like previous years East Bengal did name their new captain in Robert Lalthlamuana during the puja, attended by the officials like Debabrata Sarkar and Swapan Bal alongside other footballers. Though there was only a handful of supporters present at East Bengal Ground could be because of East Bengal’s disappointing perfomance in I-League.

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Like their city rivals, Mohun Bagan also organized the Bar Puja on Thursday morning where all the top officials of the club including President Swapan Sadhan Bose, General Secretary Anjan Mitra and Footnall Secretary Satyajit Chatterjee were seen with other executive committee members.

However, the players were missing from the occasion as the team have not reached Kolkata yet after playing their AFC Cup match against Yangoon United yesterday, but unlike East Bengal fans Mariners came in a large number.

Meanwhile, Bar Puja was celebarted in some other well known clubs in Kokata like United SC, Bhawanipore FC, Greer Sports Club, Police AC, Aryan Club, Culcutta Customs Club and others.

Photo- Santanu Biswas (East Bengal) & Ajay Majumder (Mohun Bagan)

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