KOLKATA: Pohela Baishakh (Bengali New Year) connects all the ethnic Bengalis, it is a very auspicious occasion to the Bengal and Bengalis, and like every other Bengali, Kolkata’s football communite also celebrate the day with great respect in the form of Bar Puja.

In yesteryears Bar Puja marked the beginning of new season in Kolkata Maidan, all the clubs used to present their team in front of supporters and did participate in the rituals, but because of change in country’s football calender mainly after the inception of I-league, it became almost impossible for the clubs to present their team on the day. But still the rituals does held in clubs to continue the unique tradition as old as the legacy of Kolkata football.

Basically the reason behind the Bar Puja is to please the All Mighty God to get success in forthcoming season, goalpost and the ball is worshiped aswell on the occasion. East Bengal usually name their captain for the next season in Bar Puja and like previous years East Bengal did name Guwinder Singh as their new captain during the puja at club ground in the presence of club officials like Debabrata (Nitu) Sarkar, Swapan Bal along with all the footballers of current team and coach Eelco Schattorie. However there was only a handful of supporters can be seen in the East Bengal Ground maybe due to East Bengal’s inconsistance perfomance in I-League.

Like their city rivals Mohun Bagan also organised the Bar Puja on Wednesday morning where all the top officials of the club including Debabish Dutta and Srinjoy Baju in presence along with the head coach Sanjoy Sen. On this evening Mohun Bagan will travel to Shillong for a I-league match against Royal Wahingdoh that’s why players were not present in the puja but unlike East Bengal supporters Mariners came in a large number.

Meanwhile Bar Puja was held in some other well known clubs of Kokata Maidan aswell including United SC, Bhawanipore FC, Greer Sports Club, Police AC, Aryan Club, Culcutta Customs Club and others.

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About Ujjal Sarkhel

Correspondent of The Home of Indian Football