Basanta Utsav : The Festival of Colours in Spring

Yellow and red colours and Rabindranath Tagore songs engulf the air when Basanta utsav begin in the early morning with the morning procession (Pravat Pheri). This is the festival of spring welcomes the begining of spring season (vernal equnox). What we call Dol, in Shantiniketan the celebration of Dol is unique. This celebration is imitated by the Kolkatans also.

Basant Utsav literally means the “celebration of spring”. The magnificant tradition of celebrating the spring festival in West Bengal was first started by Nobel Laureate Rabindranath Tagore in Shantiniketan at Vishwabharati Shantiniketan, one of the premier higher educational institute in Birbhum District and in the world. Rabindranath Tagore introduced this wnique form of art, which is heart throbbing to the cultural world.

Actually, Basanta Utsav is no different from Holi, except for the gracefulness with which it is celebrated. Basanta Utsav is celebrated with “abir”. The festival of spring is celebrated in a much dignified manner, compared to the boisterous Holi witnessed in most parts of India. Basanta Utsav is a beautiful festival  to welcome the spring with colors and music, which has now become an integral part of the modern Bengali culture.

In Shantiniketan, Basanta Utsav is celebrated with immense fervor and zeal. The males and females, boys and girls dressed in yellow (basanti) color, welcome spring – the season of hope, love and fun in a very elegant manner. They greet spring not only with colors, but also with Rabindranath songs, music and interesting rhymes. The cultural fest organized here, on this day, offers some spectacular performances of arts and crafts, by the students of Vishwabharti University and the locales nearby.They sing beautiful songs and also dance to the tune of pleasurable music in groups. Later in the day, on Basanta Utsav, the students as well as the teachers apply coloured powders on each other without discrimination of sex, clan and creed.

Following the coloring tradition, the entire premises of the Vishwabharati University gets filled with the colors of abeer. A warm welcome is given to all the visitors and each of them is welcomed to join in this merry making festival in spring. The air is filled not only with a number of vivacious colours, but also with the feeling of joy and hope, making the entire atmosphere delightful.

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