I only snapped the above picture on my phone because the calendar, which was hanging on the back of our hotel room door in Kolkata, showed Bengali numbers underneath the Arabic numerals.
What I didn’t realise at the time was that it shows 25th December as বড়দিন (borodin) – literally ‘big day’, and a concept that came up in online conversations recently about whether it was Bengali for Christmas Day.
I first heard বড়দিন, or rather “শুভ বড়দিন”, on Christmas Day when we went to visit relatives for lunch in Salt Lake City (Kolkata) a few weeks ago.
But the phrase was explained to me then by one of my wife’s relatives as being to do with the solstice. It certainly brings to mind, despite sounding like its polar opposite, the notion of the shortest day (21st December).
However, here’s what the voluminous Samsad Bengali-English Dictionary says for বড়দিন:
বড়দিন n. (astr.) the winter solstice; (pop.) the Christmas Day
So it looks like it covers both astrological and religious meanings.