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January 14, 2012

A Kite Festival...Up, Up & Away!


Happy Sankranti!! Sankranti is a major harvest festival celebrated all over India. It's the only holiday that follows the solar calendar unlike all others which follow the lunar one. On this holiday, families prepare a dish, using rice and lentils from the new crop, which is popularly called as pongali (sweet or savory). Also, one of the popular pastimes on this holiday is flying kites. One can see kids of all ages flying them from rooftops and sometimes even on the streets. As a kid, my mom and her siblings used to compete with their friends to see whose kite can go the farthest. She told me that the sky used to be full of kites of various sizes, colors and shapes.

Every year, Gujarat hosts an international kite festival that is one of the grandest. People from all over (such as Japan, Australia, Malaysia, USA, Brazil, Canada and other European countries) participate in this event.

Did you know this was a favorite sport among the Maharajas? They found the sport both entertaining and a way of displaying their prowess. Trained fliers were employed to fly the kites for them. Slowly, the art caught on and became popular among the masses. Today, manufacturing of kites is a serious business. There are stores in India that are open 24 hours up till the festival so that people can get their kites and supplies to enjoy the sport. I haven't seen anything like that here, but some retail stores do carry kites. I was at Costco the other day and decided to buy one. Woohoo!! Up, up and away into the sky!!

1 comment:

  1. Happy Sankranti. I know about it, although we didn't do anything for it here. Sounds like a lot of fun in India.

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