This year once again we are going to celebrate the first day of spring Pohela Falgun. Spring or Boshonto consists of two months Falgun and Choitra. We celebrate the first day of Falgun to welcome Boshonto, the season of flowers and all the vibrant colours.
The advent of Falgun wipes away the dry and chilling elements of winter with a subtle touch of warmness. But how much do we know about Pohela Falgun apart from this that the girls roam around the DU campus wrapping themselves up in striking colours and that it is a great day for the love birds?
According to the history of Mughal period Emperor Akbar started the Bengali year in 1585 AD with the intention of collecting revenue by following the solar year. At that time nowroz or the first day of the Bengali year was celebrated with great enthusiasm. Emperor Akbar who was secular in nature abolished all Muslim festivals and introduced fourteen new festivals for the new Bengali year.
The names of the months were not like the present form at that time. It is not known exactly when they became Boiskakh, Jaishthya etc. but all these names were derived from the names of the stars.
The name Falgun came from the star Falguni. The reason behind the naming after starts is that in the Vedic Age (1500 BC) the rishis (ancient Indian scholars) had an obsession with astrology and the stars. Though they use to follow the solar year the mention of Falguni (spring) full moon in Vedic Literature suggests that lunar months were also calculated. Probably the traditional inclination of the rishis to the moon and stars led to the naming of the months after stars.
The significance of Pohela Falgun is very singular in our national life. The way we celebrate Pohela Boishakh and Pohela Falgun in Bangladesh these days started to flourish after the arousal of Bengali Nationalism in 1950s and 1960s.
After the Language Movement people of East Pakistan started to celebrate festivals which were related to the Bengali culture silently defying the anti-Bengali attitude of the then Pakistan Government.
Cultural bodies and general people started celebrating these events with Tagore songs which was banned in 1960s. So celebrating Pohela Falgun was not for having fun only at that time. It was a display of our nationalism.
In the pre-independence period these days worked as a way to flaunt Bengali Nationalism. Unfortunately fundamentalist elements are still in full swing in our country to spoil our national spirit. So it is time again that we start celebrating Pohela Falgun with a renewed enthusiasm with which it was celebrated in the pre-independence period.
The days Pohela Falgun and Boishakh are our two efforts at warding off fundamentalist and anti- nationalistic forces.
These two days are parts of our National Heritage and National History like the Independence Day, the Victory Day and the Language Martyrs Day.
These are meant not for fashion conscious people and love birds only. These days were and are a way to protest fundamentalism, a way to defy racist bans and to protect our national pride and glory.
Falgun (Bengali: ফাল্গুন) is the eleventh month in the বঙ্গাব্দ Bangla Calendar and the Bikram Sambat. The first of Falgun is known as “Pohela Falgun” and usually falls on the 13th February of the Gregorian Calendar.
“Pohela Falgun” symbolizes the festival of color, coherence of heart and a refreshing start of life. Nature, that seemed decayed recently, suddenly appears with full of infancy. Nature becomes colorful as flowers like Shimul, Polash, Mango, Rose, Marigolds blossom. Melody of birds or mild touch of the sunshine – everything will make you feel that springtime is the nature’s festival. The day will inspire you to fall in love, to be romantic.
On the occasion, girls are dressed in bashonti (yellow or orange) coloured saree and flowers in hair while boys wear colorful pajama and panjabi to welcome the arrival of spring.
The center point of this festivity is “Bakul-tola” of the Institute of Fine Arts (Commonly known as Charukola) of Dhaka University. The jingle of the celebration is "Esho mili praner utshabe" (Come, let us celebrate life together). Jatiya Boshonto Utshab Udjapan Parishad arranges the main celebration program of the day for over a decade. The celebration usually begins at around 7am in the morning. Thousands of young men and women gather in the morning and celebrate the day with signing songs, reciting poems and dancing. At around 10:00am a rally starts from Bokul-tola, it revolves round the TSC and later ends at Charukola.
The entire Dhaka University Campus and the Ekeushy Boi-mela becomes the best place to hang out with friends, family members and beloved ones.