Baisabi festival starts with saying goodbye to the old year and welcoming the new year. This festival is called ‘Baisu Chakmara’ by the Tripuras, ‘Bisu’ by the Biju Tanchangyas and ‘Sangrai’ by the Marmaras. Combining the names of these four sects (Vai+Sa+B) this festival is now called Vaisabi.
Biju is associated with the religious sentiments of the Chakmas. On New Year’s Eve, Hari Vaisu will be celebrated to officially inaugurate Tripura Janagoshti’s Varshavaran program. Marmad sangrai begins on the first day of the new year. The hilly villages of Khagrachari are decorated in various arrangements.
Baisabi festival is associated with the glorious history of the hill women of Chittagong Hill Tracts. Therefore, keeping in mind the ancient role of women in every phase of the festival, various competitions, including traditional sports and weaving, are organized for women.
Biju is the annual festival of Chakmas. They celebrate the Biju festival in three parts. Chaitra observes Phul Biju on 29th, Mool Biju on 30th and Gajapyajya Biju on the first day of Baisakh.
On the day of Phul Biju, flowers are collected from the deep forest, divided into four parts and decorated with flowers and neem leaves. The second part offers flowers to the Buddha in the Buddhist monastery and prays and listens to sermons given by the monks. A third place is the flowers in the puja mandap made on the banks of rivers, canals or ponds and prays. Fourthly flowers are gifted to loved ones and floral greetings to elders.
Marmaras celebrate the old year by saying goodbye to the new year and calling it the Sangrai festival. They celebrate the Bengali New Year with various events on the first day of Baisakh. The Marma community organizes pachan, pitha and various delicacies. Everyone wears new clothes and goes to each other’s house. By exchanging skills. Men and women of all ages dance and sing together. Marma elders go to the temple to observe Ashtashil. On this day, after bathing the Buddha statue in sandalwood water, the elderly also bathe. Wearing new clothes. Elderly people practice religion in temples. The main attraction of the Marma people on this day is the water ceremony or water play. In the Marma language the water ceremony is called Rilongpoe. Pandals are made in advance for water play in the courtyard of the house. Marma youths came to the venue to the beat of music and songs. There Marma girls wait with water inside the pandal decorated with flowers. Young people are throwing water at each other. Taking water as a symbol of purity, Marma youths purify themselves by sprinkling the water.
In every house, the guests are entertained with sweets, specially prepared panchan and summer fruits like watermelon, Bangi etc. On the occasion of Baisabi, young tribal girls dress up in different colours and travel from place to place.
On the other hand, on the occasion of Baisabi, traditional kriya competitions of Chakma, Tripura and Marmads are organized by the initiative of various neighbourhood mahallas and social organizations.