Uttarayan- International Kite Festival (14th January 2016)
Uttarayan Sankranti Moment = 01:35
Uttarayan is one of the biggest festival celebrated in India and it takes place on the lands of Gujarat. The day winter season starts diminishing and weather starts warming up for the approaching summer, Uttarayan adorns the sky of Gujarat. Cities like Ahmedabad, Surat, Vadodara and Rajkot accommodate people coming from international destinations to experience the charm and grandeur of the festival. The festival is celebrated on 14th January of every year, since 1989 and coincides with the harvesting festival, Makar Sankranti. Slowly and steadily the impact of this festival has turned out to be so huge that two days in Gujarat and some cities of Rajasthan are marked as public holidays while people stay drenched in the festivity. The number of participants can reach up to 10 million.
The art of kite flying is not new among the Indians but initially this was only an activity limited to kings and their rich associates. Trained fliers were hired to enter into the kite flying competitions on the behalf of royalties. They displayed their power, skills, might and exuberance through such an act and depicting their rivalry in the form of such sport was considered creative and innovative.
With the growing acceptance of ‘Kite flying’, the activity reached to the masses and with time it became a full-scaled, profit making industry. In today’s time, Gujarat is one of the largest manufacturer of kites which range anywhere from rupees five to rupees five thousand. The size of the kites ranges from few inches to three feet. Preparations of the day begin from the months prior to the event. Small scale industries indulged in kite-making bloom tremendously, giving a strong reason for smile to the lower class people.
According to beliefs, people consider the day highly auspicious as Gods wake up from their deep slumber. They become active and start accepting prayers and wishes of their devotees.
Change in Weather and Mood
When the sun starts traveling towards north, the days start getting longer and pleasant. The sky gets cleared of all the fog and mist, leaving a beautiful, large and clear space for the colorful kites. People are filled with joy as the harvesting season is about to begin. It is considered as one of the most important harvest day, giving the farmers a new hope and beginning into earning a decent living for themselves.
Customs and Traditions
The best place to enjoy the event is the Sabarmati Riverfront where around 500,000 people can be accommodated. People from around the globe visit these places. They first flood the markets to buy kites from numerous kite buyers in abundance. They negotiate the price and after completing their shopping, they ready themselves for the competition. Terraces of all the houses, buildings, shops etc., are jam-packed with people and their enthusiasm for the festival is worth noticing and experiencing.
Gujarat is also famous for his food items. Local delicacies like undhiyu, dhokla, khandavi and jalebis are sold and served.