Monday, 21 January 2013

The day when Kites rule the sky...

Festivals, Lights, colours and tradition tend to bring out the best in me! How much ever jejune my life is, how much ever bonkers I am going over something, when a festival approaches I forget everything and am all ready to celebrate it. I am all Happy Happy!

As I left for work on the 14th Jan, every passing street welcomed me with Kite shops around. Young men getting their kite stocks for the day; Piebald kites and balloons all around; Kites swaying in the sky; People assembling on their terraces for Kite fights; Latest Himesh Reshamiya tracks playing on high volumes.  

Yes, you guessed it right! It was the day of Uttarayan .

Uttarayan also known as Makar Sankranti, almost always falls on the same day every year that is the 14th of January. It marks the beginning of the harvest season and is celebrated as a form of giving thanks to nature.

I usually love gazing up at the sky. But on 14th of January it’s a different experience altogether. The sky looks even more beautiful, colourful and motley with kites all around!! I feel elated and ecstatic.

Suddenly it struck me that I do not really know why we fly kites on the Uttarayan? Is there a mythological story behind this too? If yes, why did my granny not tell me?

After a lot of contemplation, I decided to use the lethal weapon- “GOOGLE” for the answers!

I didn’t find a specific cultural or religious significance behind kite flying; Seems like it’s a quite secular activity. So, don’t worry if you are not a Hindu. Flying Kites will not convert your religion. ;)

Meanwhile I found some interesting facts about the festival Makar Sankranti :
  1.  On the day of Sankranti, it is said that the Lord Sun (Surya) visits his son Shani, who is the swami of Makar Rashi (Capricorn). It is said that generally the two do not get along well but not this day, the Sun visits his son forgetting all differences of opinion. Hence, Makar Sankranti is considered to be a day to forget sourness and  bitter relationships.   
  2.  It is believed that a person who dies during this auspicious period of Uttarayan is lucky as he goes to heaven.
  3. Makar Sankranti is celebrated in almost all parts of the country with different names.
    • In Maharashtra, people celebrate by offering each other tilgul-laddus. People exchange these sweets with the words 'tilgul ghya, god god bola'. This means have these tilguls and speak sweet words.
    • In Gujarat, Makar Sankranti is celebrated as Uttarayan. On this day, people go to their terrace and fly kites along with family members and friends.
    • In Punjab it is celebrated as Lohri and in Tamil Nadu as Pongal. In West Bengal, Sankranti is known as Pous Parbon - a harvest festival. In Uttar Pradesh, Sankrant is called Khichiri. Taking a dip in the holy rivers on this day is regarded as most auspicious. 
    • Makar Sankranti is celebrated in Kerala at Sabarimala. The forty days of spiritual discipline undertaken by devotees of Ayappa comes to an end on this day with a big celebration at Sabarimala.

Be it any region or any place Makar Sankranti festival brings people closer. The simple festival of kite flying makes the common man realize that even sky is not his limit! One does not need lots of money to celebrate this festival. All you need is some kites, good friends, family, music and thoda sa meetha!! Kyunki meethe ke bina toh har festival adhura hai!!

PS: I have started hogging on sweets.. Cupcakes, Pasteries, Rabri n Malpoa, Jalebi......the list goes on and on :)


  1. Hi Neha,

    Hmm, that was a good source of information, I knew of only Uttarayan and Lohri. People are so crazy about Uttarayan in Gujarat that it is celebrated over two days but now it is slowly losing its charm. One sees kites flying only in the older parts of the city area. Thanks for sharing the info with all of us :)

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    1. Hi Jay,

      It true the excitement and enthusiasm is depleting year after year. But its only because we are too busy watching our fav tv shows, surfing net, watching movies, shopping. Slowly, we are driving away from our culture and tradition.

      NEha Sharma

  2. Hi Neha,

    Thanks for the detailed post on kites and the related festivals. Kite flying has been a great pastime during childhood. Only now I discover that its related to festivals.

    1. Hi,

      Most welcome. Keep dropping by to read more interesting stuff that is yet to come. :)

      Neha Sharma