Celebrations marking Pahela Falgun, the first day of spring in the Bangla calendar, spilled over to yesterday's proceedings at the Amar Ekushey Grantha Mela, with a large turnout of people in a festive mood.
Right from the fair's opening at 3pm, booklovers clad in traditional attire poured in to both the venues -- Bangla academy and Suhrawardy Udyan -- after celebrating “Bashanta Boron” at the nearby Faculty of Fine Arts, Dhaka University (DU) since morning.
Girls in yellow sarees and boys in bright-coloured panjabis or T-shirts were seen buying their favourite books, bringing the spirit of spring to the fair.
Talking to The Daily Star, Suraiya Sathi, a masters student of Theatre and Performance Studies department at DU, said she along with her friends came on DU area to enjoy both the fair and Basanta Utsab, the spring festival.
Some foreigners, dressed in the spirit of Falgun drew attention of many in front of the stall of Tamrolipi publications. Lucca, sporting a flower garland around her neck and a flower crown on her head, said she has come from Germany for a month-long diploma course under Bangladesh University of Textiles.
“When we came to Bangladesh last month, we planned to visit the book fair in February, as we knew about the historic language movement of 1952. Besides, we have heard the names of Bengali writer Rabindranath Tagore and Bengali political leader Sheikh Mujib,” she said.
Works by prominent writers, including Syed Shamsul Haq, Nirmalendu Goon, Humayun Ahmed, Muhammed Zafar Iqbal, Anisul Hoque and Imdadul Haque Milon, along with romantic novels and poetry written by young writers were sold in large numbers on the day, said stall attendants.
“Sales of books are satisfactory so far,” said Ahmedul kabir, a salesman at Agami publication.
Stall attendants of Kureghor, Samay and Annaya Prakash also hoped for booming sales on Valentine's Day today.
Young writer Abdullah Al Imran, who was seen chitchatting with his readers at the stall of Annesha, said the stall has published his novel “Hridoyer Dokhin Duar".
“It makes me happy to see youths buying my book on the special day of Pahela Falgun, I am hoping for good sales on Valentine's Day and Ekushey February,” he added.
Meanwhile, a total of 172 new books arrived at the fair yesterday.