Many of the female visitors wore flower crowns and red saris, bringing a festive look to the fair.
Book-lovers set aside their busy schedules to spend time together, chat, and take photos on the day of love, whether alone, as a couple, or with family members.
The fair venue has turned into a breathing space in the city of concrete, giving the teeming visitors a break from their urban lives.
Rownak, who works for a law enforcement agency, visited with her spouse. “I have a 24-hour job, but somehow I managed to make time for my beloved husband. The book fair is our favourite haunt, and it’s our first Valentine’s Day after marriage,” she said with a blush.
A group of students from Dania College in the city came to the fair to spend time together as friends, as their college is closed. Emon, a member of that circle, said: “We are all single and are celebrating our friendship here.”
The book fair has become a reunion for many people.
Nilufar Yesmin, a school teacher, was waiting to meet her ex-students. She said: “The book fair is very special. It enriches our culture and social values. Every year, I meet my former students at the fair. They come here with their kids and husband or parents.”
Visitors gathered in the empty spaces and stairs of the Bangla Academy pond, the waterfall circle at Suhrawardy Uddyan, and the food-stalls. When they reached the book stalls, they were too busy breathing in the smell of new books and sifting through the stacks.
Not only the book fair venue, but the surrounding areas of Dhaka University also saw massive crowds gather with visitors either passing through or staying put to spend time there.
The fair saw a total of 146 new titles hit the bookshelves on Tuesday, with 23 new titles being formally launched. Bangla Academy also held a discussion on books about February 21 published in the 1950s and 1960s, with a speaker reciting an essay as well.