THE STORY BEHIND THE INTERNATIONAL KITE FESTIVAL OR THE MAKAR SANKRANTI
What makes the festival truly unique to the international world is the many colorful and unique kites flown during the festival.
January 14th marks one of the most awaited festivals known for its sweets and colorful kites, that festival is called Uttarayan or Makar Sankranti, and is celebrated in Gujarat, India.
While most Indians would identify the festival as a harvest festival with lots of sweets and treats, what makes the festival truly unique to the international world is the many colorful and unique kites flown during the festival.
According to the Hindustan Times, the Makar Sankranti marks the end of winter as well as the beginning of longer days due to the sun’s movement north. This period is known as Uttarayan and is considered to be very auspicious.
The article from the Hindustan Times further elaborates that “Uttarayan was celebrated on December 31, many years ago, – due to the revolution of the earth around the sun every eight years, the date of Uttarayan is postponed by one day. It is believed that Uttarayan was celebrated at the end of December around a thousand years ago. This year, the festival falls on Sunday, January 15, 2023. It is celebrated annually on January 14 else on January 15 in case of a leap year.”
Before the festival starts, the kite makers will prepare their kites in advance. Not only that, but a number of markets will also be crowded with kite fans and kite festival participants.
At the festival, there will be various types of kites, ranging from simple and light ones made of colorful paper and bamboo frames to those with pictures of Bollywood artists or social themes.
Also, the kite lines were often coated with a mixture of rice and broken glass as the kites would collide in the sky. The participants will also try to cut other participants' kite strings, in a sort of battle in the skies.
Kites will not be the only attraction during the festival. However, the festival, especially in Gujarat will usually involve lots of treats and snacks, as well as acrobatic performances during the daytime and fireworks at night.
Kite festivals are not only celebrated in India, but also in Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, the United States, Australia, and Brazil.
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