The Festive Briefings:
“Uttarayan” is one of the most celebrated festivals in India which lasts for 3 long days across all states and cities. This is also the first Hindu festival which takes place in the new calendar year i.e., on 14th-16th January. Uttarayan festival has been given many names like Makarsankranthi, Pongal, Bhogi, Maghi etc. Unlike other Hindu festivals which follow the lunar motion, Makarsankranthi follows the movement of the sun. It marks the beginning of the sun’s transition into the zodiac of Capricorn (Makar = Capricorn, Sankranti= transition). The festival embarks the end of winter officially and spring begins. A transition symbolic of discarding the previous season’s bad and the beginning of a fresh new season. As Uttarayan is one of the oldest festivals and falls on the equinox, day and night on this day are believed to be equally long.
The significance of Uttarayan across parts of India:
The festival is dedicated to the Hindu sun god, Surya. In many parts of the country, Makar Sankranti marks the time of pilgrimages. In Uttar Pradesh, it is the beginning of Kumbhmela whereas in Kerala it is the end of Shabrimala. As per Nepali calendar, it is celebrated on 1st Magh and marks the end of Poush – the ill-omened month. It is regarded as important for spiritual practices too, people take a holy dip in rivers, like Ganga, Yamuna etc. The bathing is believed to result in merit or absolution of past sins.
In various parts of India, this festival is celebrated by making sticky, bound sweets. They are particularly made from sesame and a sugar base such as jaggery. They are made as a symbolism for being together in peace and joyfulness, despite the uniqueness and differences between individuals. This period is also a part of the early stages of the Rabi crop and agricultural cycle.
Importance of Kite flying
There are various cross-cultural customs that are followed for Uttarayan. There is one thing that is common for all the cities – Kite Flying!. Kite Flying has been a popular custom turned craze that is being practiced during Uttarayan festival. The tradition goes that the higher kites fly it would take away all our sins and ill omens associated with our life. This practice of kite flying is tremendously popular in Gujarat, Punjab, and Maharashtra initially. But over the years the craze of kite flying has increased rapidly. Now almost all parts of India enjoys kite flying across all days of Uttarayan.
The markets stock up with fancy kites of all types, size and shapes weeks before the festival start. The terraces of Indian houses start getting flocked up by kite flyers at least from a week prior to the festival. Initially, the markets used to sell very simple kites which we popularly know as “Patang”, but now we get to see a wide range of kites in different shapes and sizes. The manjha is also now available in different variations to facilitate line cutting during kite clashes. On the day of the festival, people indulge in recreational kite flying competitions amongst themselves which is a treat to our eyes and a drama on the sky! The night isn’t plain either with night kites and lanterns setting the sky on fire.
International Kite Flying
The madness of kite flying in India has reached a higher level. Our flyers have leaped through international boundaries. Yes, India organizes International Kite flying festival every year in Ahmedabad, Gujarat. This International Kite festival invites and encourages kite flyers from different parts of the world. to come to Ahmedabad for a 3-day long kite festival and display their unique kite flying talents by flying huge unusual kites. People from various countries and cities flock down to India during this time just to get a glimpse of this lovely kite festival. Another city to join this International trend is Hyderabad, which has also started to host International Kite Festival from past 2 years. They have got an amazing response from the international kite flying teams and now is on par with Ahmedabad Kite Festival. These festivals have added to the tourist attraction of India as well.
FLY360 has been lucky enough to be a part of these festivals every year, being invited/part of the organizing committee as one of the strongest teams from India. Our kite making skills and flying techniques are being appreciated by International designers and flyers. We have also been invited by many international kite festival organizers to come and be a part of their fests from all over the world. Our best international experience includes Turkey kite festival, China kite festival to name a few. We are associated with various kite communities across the globe who share the same passion for flying kites and making innovative, extraordinary kites. Do you have the same passion for flying kites? If Yes then join us today and we can collaborate to take kite flying to the next level.