Seasonal fests, a cultural complex

| Updated: February 19, 2023 21:09:30

Seasonal fests, a cultural complex

Stressful life of the middle and lower-middle classes in the country's cities at times becomes unbearable. They look for outlets to release their stifling boredom. There are few to emerge as a way out to relieve them of their suffocation. Dhaka, as capital of Bangladesh, can boast of several outlets for spending pastime. But those are area-based. And many of them are based in north Dhaka. People from the south cannot visit those places at will thanks to traffic gridlock. In the similar way, the residents of the north cannot normally visit the Shahbagh-Dhaka University area to enjoy their timeout. But on occasions they turn desperate to come to the southern Dhaka to spend some good time.

It's a well accepted fact that after continuing a grinding schedule day in and day out, the city residents look for short reliefs from monotony. Over the last couple of years, Dhaka has been offering the outlets of several such breaks from the city's hectic life. In most cases, these outings comprise different special days marked by national holidays. Some are not holidays. But, nonetheless, these are filled with festive moods. They are festivity-dominant days marked by attending gaiety-filled events, meeting friends and acquaintances after a long time and just gossiping. Many of these special festivities also centre round the different occasions marking the special days of Bangla seasons. Of them, the Bangla months of Baishakh and Falgoon emerge as the two most important ones. The ongoing month of Falgoon marks the Bangla month of spring. Although the first day of Falgoon isn't a holiday, young males and females attired in their festive dresses, yellow and red being the dominant colours, move about the must-go venues, especially the Shahbagh areas. The day coincides with the Ekushey Book Fair at the Bangla Academy and the Suhrawardy Udyan. Many small families with children are thus seen entering the book fair for a long time.

The 1st of Falgoon in Bangladesh is also called the Day of Love. The celebration of this occasion sees young romantic pairs loitering in a leisurely mood throughout the Shahbagh, Dhaka University and Nilkhet areas. Earlier in the morning, the students of the Fine Art Institute welcome spring with songs and dance and poetry recitations. However, the greatest of the Bangla season-based festivals has long been the Pahela Baishakh, the Bangla New Year's Day. It is celebrated on the first day of the Bangla month of Baishakh, which is the beginning of summer. The Bangla New Year's festival is unparalleled in terms of jubilation and fanfare. Other seasonal celebrations of Bangladesh pale beside it. What the other parts of Dhaka often miss are the various types of cultural events that take place on the Arts Building campus, and also in the surrounding areas. These areas include the Fine Art Institute and the Dhaka Museum. The International Film Festival being held at the Central Public Library for two decades has already become a vital event in the cultural hub.

 Unlike in every large city elsewhere in the world, Dhaka has yet to have its own dedicated area for activities of the arts and culture. The Shilpakala Academy is there to hold the 2-yearly biennale of Asian Art Exhibition. But it also organises solo and group art shows, drama festivals, musical evenings etc. Kolkata's Nandon is a large arts complex holding all kinds of shows including film festivals. Grand plans were once taken to build the Dhaka Arts Complex around the Suhrawardy Udyan, i.e. connecting all the institutions on its two sides through a foot overpass on the ground's eastern part. The majestic plan may have been lost under many other more important files. Many youths may have forgotten the chapter altogether. Ironically, the foot overpass still stands --- nearly abandoned and over a gridlocked road.


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