Ekushey Book Fair

Huge Book Fair is held at Bangla Academy every year in February.
Of course, this year too.
This is not just a book fair, but also historically important for Bangladesh.
The fair is originally dedicated to the agitators who died on 21th February 1952 in a movement to establish Bengali as their state language.
People come not only for books, but literary & cultural events, and exhibitions.

I didn't know it started from 3 p.m, so I went morning!
I killed time and came back, then there were people waiting for gate to open.
There were stores for many kinds of books.
Books, books....
Books, books, books..... 
There is poster of Bangabandhu, the father of the nation and his messages.

At the fair, I found Bangladesh Tourism Board(BTB)'s booth.
There are 2 government tourism organization, and another one is BTB.
Why is their booth in the fair?
I visited and asked, then they were doing "ICON competition".
What can be the ICON of Bangladesh?

It is interesting.
The choice was,
-National Monument Savar
-National Parliament Building
-Sixty Dome Mosque
-Ahan Manzil
-Curzon Hall
-Uttara Gono Bhaban
-Anti-Tourism Memorial Sculpture
-National Martyr Monument
-Paharpur Buddhist Monastery
-Lalbagh Fort
-Dhakeshwari National Temple
-Bangladesh Supreme Court Building
-Bangabandhu Multi-purpose Bridge

What did I choose?
Then I was interview why I choose Rikshaw, what do I think of this vote...e.t.c.
Next day, my co-worker told me
"I saw you answering interview on TV!"
So, it was broad casted......don't really remember what I told.

You can also vote online.

In the area even outside of Bangla academy, there are many book stores along the streets.
How can you find book there?
I didn't buy any book, but you can take a look.
Fair will be finish soon, until February 28th!

Ekushey Book Fair
Place: Bangla Academy
Time: Weekday   3:00p.m-8:30 p.m
           Weekend   11:00 a.m-8:30p.m (1:00-3:00p.m closed on Friday)


International Mother Language Day

Do you know what is February 21th for?
It is International Mother Language Day.
I didn't even know the day when I lived in Japan, but it is very important in Bangladesh.
February 21th in 1952, Students demonstrated for recognition of Bengali language, their mother tongue.
At that time, Bangladesh was a part of Pakistan and was forced to learn Urdu.
Students crushed with police and were shot dead.
Shaheed Minar is the monument for commemorating them, dead in fight for their language.
Every year in February 21th, people come to Shaheed Minar with flower.

So of course, I have to visit Shaheed Minar.
Flower contribute starts from 12:01 a.m, the first person to give flower is prime minister Sheikh Hasina.

I want to go!
However.....gate of my house closes at 11 p.m.
It means I have to stay there over night.

Do I?
......call me lazy, I decided to go in the next morning.

I started before 7 in the morning.
Flower stores were busy.
Temporary flower stores are everywhere on the street.
A store(?) has a picture of Shaheed Minar:)
It shouldn't take so long time from bus station to Shaheed Minar, but some roads were closed.
There was only one way to go and out.
I had to take a detour.
People wore black cloth for commemoration of victims.
There are many paintings on the road for the day.
After half hour of walking, road started crowded.
Not only individuals, but also some groups came for contributing flowers.

There are school kids, too.

On the next picture, can you see the security gate?
There are 2 entrances for group and individuals.
Once you get enter, no way to go back....so if you don't dare to jump in ocean of people, return now.
I went.......and then, here!
People, people and people.
I think I have stayed almost for an hour in people.

And here, Shaheed Minar!
You have to take off your shoes before.
(Be careful not to be stepped......some people still wore their shoes, and my bare foot were stepped by shoes...)
It was sooo long way to reach there, but it was a moment to contribute flower.
We made queue and put flower and security guards rushed us to go quickly.

Closer to the Shaheed Minar, there must be flower carpet.
However, we can't go there....ordinary people are only allowed to give flower in a specific place.
I wanted to see flower carpet, but unfortunately couldn't.

However, it was important experience.
I saw Bengali people's passion for their nation and language.


Valentine's Day

February 14th was the Valentine's Day.
In Japan, girls give boys chocolate and tell their love.
Boys give girls candy in return on March 14th called "White Day".
Then, what happens in Bangladesh?
As I heard from Bangladeshi, people give gift each other, but there is no rule who gives to whom, what...e.t.c.
Lovers spent time together, and girls may wear red cloth.
I saw some girls wearing red cloth on the day, but not quite sure if it is for Valentine's Day.
I asked some people, but they just told me there was not any rule.
At supermarket, I found "Valentine Gift corner".
Chocolates on the shelf. 
After supermarket, I visited Hotel to look for something for Valentine.
Yes, there were.
At entrance, staff greeted us "Happy Valentine!". 
Then, I found chocolate fondue.
Pink marshmallow with green chocolate......???
 Hotel decoration with Green heart object
I don't quite understand the sense of color of Bengali people, but Valentine's Day exists in Bangladesh.

How was my day?
I even didn't remember the day until I was told, but a Japanese girl gave me a chocolate :)
Happy Valentine♪