Pahela Falgun/Valentine’s Day 2021: Of Life, Love and the virus

After surviving what has been a dreadful year in any calendar, dominated for the most part by an invisible killer, Bangladesh is set to awake Sunday to festivity and celebrations rooted in its own natural environment: its people, its rivers, the flora and fauna. Spring is across most cultures and geographies the King of Seasons, a wellspring for life in all its forms to revive itself.

With the notion to welcome the first day of the sixth and most anticipated season, Basanta, Bengalis will embrace Pahela Falgun, and after the best part of ten months in the doldrums, a fair number of them will literally receive a shot of life in their arms with the long-awaited vaccine of the novel coronavirus.

The king of all the six seasons that brings back warm sunshine, budding flowers, and cacophony of birds everywhere – Spring has been adored and celebrated by people for all its pleasant presents before welcoming the new calendar year with Summer.

At the same time, tantalized by an imported trend around the world to celebrate the essence of Love, people in Bangladesh will also celebrate Valentine’s Day with their beloved on the same day, in the festive month of February.

Also called Saint Valentine’s Day or the Feast of Saint Valentine, February 14 became a day of celebration over the years following an ancient Roman tradition that has been celebrated mostly in Western countries. Thanks to its globalization, the day is now also being observed in Asia and other parts of the world including Bangladesh.

Over the past couple of years, people particularly in Bangladesh became used to celebrating a two-day festivity in February, with the 13th being the day of Pahela Falgun and the 14th as Valentine’s Day. However, both the days got amalgamated last year and started being celebrated on February 14, due to the changes made in the Bengali calendar.

According to the Bangla Academy, the adjustments in the Bangla calendar have been made in accordance with some of the historical dates of Bangladesh including February 21, 1952, March 26, 1971 and December 16, 1971. The adjusted and approved calendar by the cabinet in 2019 made the rule that the Bangla month of Falgun is now having 30 days instead of the usual 29 when it is a leap year in the Gregorian calendar.

Lovebirds and couples, however, are celebrating both days anyway with expressing love and affection towards each other exchanging flowers and gifts, but this time the celebration is the country goes hybrid, maintaining the ‘new normals’ amid the COVID-19 driven timeline.

Different socio-cultural organizations are scheduled to arrange various programs and virtual events throughout the day, with an exception made by the Faculty of Fine Arts, the Dhaka University which is not arranging its traditional ‘Bashanta Boron’ festivity at the institution’s Bakultala, due to the ongoing pandemic.

However, Jatiya Bashanta Utshab Udjapon Parishad will organize its traditional ‘Bashanta Utshob 1427’ at Sohrawardi Uddyan open stage in the capital from 7 am to 10 am and 3:30 pm to 7 pm, following heath guidelines.

A dreadful fact that saddened people from all spheres this year is the missing vibe of the Amar Ekushey Book Fair that has always added extra joy to the colorful festivity, which has been shifted to March 18 this year.

Bangladesh Shilpakala Academy (BSA) is going to arrange ‘Bashanta Utshob 2021’ at its Nandan Mancha which will be joined by State Minister for Cultural Affairs KM Khalid as the chief guest. The event will be presided over by BSA director general Liaquat Ali Lucky and feature enthralling performances by renowned and esteemed artists of the country.

The ongoing international photography biennale festival Chobi Mela Shunno is also going to be a probable destination to many of the festivity-loving citizens today. The 11th edition of this international festival is featuring a wide range of attractive programs in a hybrid format at the Drikpath Bhaban, Panthapath in the capital.

Marking the special Day, various restaurants almost everywhere in the country have arranged special offers for the customers. Also, different gift shops are eyeing to make extra sales with specially discounted prices, offers, and a variety of gift items to please the buyers. lower markets are busy stocking red roses for the day.

Besides, flower-sellers are also waiting to celebrate the day with massive stocks of roses and bouquets for people – who are eagerly waiting to celebrate the day with their beloved ones, to bid a joyful adieu to the last season of the crucial and eventful year.