Saturday (January 14) people all over India celebrated Makara Sankranti that signifies the end of winter and the beginning of spring as the days start getting longer. An auspicious holiday, people worship Lord Surya, the Sun God, in anticipation of the coming year. In the northern part of the country it is also celebrated as a harvest festival. This is a holiday that is dramatically beautiful and fun for all because its trademark is the flying of kites as thousands of kites cover the sky.

 

People from very young children to adults construct kites to fly to the heavens. Some people start planning and building their kites several days in advance. Most people build them individually but some get together in groups to build the best fighting kites. This is a very spectacular site to see. The sky, from horizon to horizon, looks like a paint store that exploded with kites of every color. Violet, red and green seem to be the most popular.

 

My husband has told me colorful stories that describe how enthusiastic and competitive some people are to get their kites higher than everyone else. Some stand on the roofs of buildings to get an extra height advantage. This is very dangerous as the race to have the highest kite becomes more intense during the day. Many people actually coat their kite strings with glue and bits of broken glass to cut the strings on kites they encounter in the sky. By the end of the day, these enthusiastic and tired flyers have bloody fingers from maneuvering their kites by pulling on the string. I know they must be planning technical improvements for the next kite.

 

Young children also participate but their kites do not fly as high and are flown just for fun.

 

 

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