A variety of events are usually organized at the Charukola premises of Dhaka University but this year is different due to the pandemic
People from all ages with their animated vigour and colourful minds are celebrating Pohela Falgun, the first day of the 11th month in the Bangla calendar, signalling the start of spring (Boshonto) and coinciding with the worldwide celebration of Valentine's Day – all amidst the pandemic.
Due to the Covid-19 situation, no formal programs are held but people are celebrating the day, nonetheless, wearing dazzling dresses, floral ornaments and by offering flowers to their beloved and near ones.
Clad in yellow sarees and panjabis, people, especially the youth, thronged Dhaka University campus, which is considered the cultural heartbeat of the city. They also haunt Ramna Park, Suhrawardy Udyan, Rabindra Sarobar, Dhanmondi Lake, Hatirjheel and other places in the capital.
The Charukola premises at Dhaka University (DU) campus is decorated in spring colours to celebrate the season of Falgun (spring).
A variety of events and arrangements are traditionally organized by Charukola, however, this year is different.
Charukola (DU's Faculty of Fine Arts) Dean Nisar Hossain said that the national committees usually organize the festivals in the university premises.
"This year, the Spring Festival Committee contacted us but we could not give them permission due to the pandemic," he said.
Antara Yeasmin, a student of Daffodil University who came to visit Dhaka University campus with her beloved, said: "Pohela Falgun adds a new colour to our life, we are celebrating the day to escape from our daily life toil."
"Covid-19 situation has changed everything on this beautiful day. I pray for a normal, vibrant life full of joys and love," she said.
Bangalis used to mark the spring festival on the first day of the Bangla month of Falgun on February 13 but since 2020, the day has coincided with Valentine's Day on February 14, which has also become a major day for celebration for festival-loving Bangladeshis, especially the youth.
In 2019, Bangla Academy revised the Bangla Calendar to match it to the Gregorian calendar, aimed at observing significant days in line with the historic backgrounds.
On the day, the nation's capital and other major cities of the country usually become ablaze with mirth and merriment as excited youngsters wear yellow and red clothing, flower-made ornaments, and attend traditional musical functions.
Newspapers have been publishing special supplements for the last couple of days, carrying the message of the festivals.
Spring has arrived with the blossom of flowers and new leaves in trees. In nature, it is considered that the "Krishnachura" flower brings the message of the arrival of spring.
Spring has been depicted as the king of all seasons in poetry for its extraordinary beauty. A famous excerpt by Subhash Mukhopadhyay stating "Phul phutuk na phutuk, aaj Boshonto" (Whether flowers bloom or not, today's spring) beautifully depicts the advent of the Boshonto Utshob.
Colourful flowers such as Shimul, Polash and Marigold, the melody of birds and the mild touch of sunshine - everything makes one feel that springtime is nature's festival.
Falgun is the eleventh month in the Bengali calendar and the first month of the season, Spring, the king of all the six seasons that brings back warm sunshine, budding flowers and dancing of birds.
Spring, or Boshonto, evokes feelings of warmth and new beginnings. The slogan "Biborno prane esho boshonto abar" is used to celebrate every year.
Moreover, hundreds of couples from different ages were seen thronging Dhaka University area holding each other's hands.
Valentine's Day is named after Saint Valentine, a Catholic clergyman who lived in Rome during the 3rd century BC. This day contains vestiges of both Christian and ancient Roman traditions, but the history of this day and the story of its patron saint are both shrouded in mystery. There are many stories about Saint Valentine and over time these stories evolved into the legend that we know of today.