Kites Festival(Patang Parva)-Gujarat, 14th January 2023
On the 14th of January, sun enters the Capricorn sign. From this day, sun starts entering the Uttarayan. This day is celebrated as a festival in India. Hence, it is known with different names in different parts of nation. At some places it is celebrated as Makar Sankranti, and in some areas as Lohri. In few places of nation, this festival is celebrated for three days. It is also celebrated as Pongal. Although, the names may differ but the purpose is the same.
The festival of 14th January is celebrated as kites festival in many parts of the country. There is a tradition of flying kites specially in Gujarat. Hence, the festival of Makar Sankranti is also known by the name of Kites festival. History of flying kites in India is very old. From the time of Lord Ram, flying of kites has been mention in our scriptures. Ramcharitmanas, written by Tulsi Das, contains a couplet (Doha) which narrates the flying of kite by Lord Ram. The couplets are as follows:
राम इक दिन चंग उडा़ई
इन्द्रलोक में पहुंची जाई.
Couplet states that, Lord Ram flew kites with his friends, which reached the Indralok. This way we can say, the tradition of flying kites is followed from the ancient time. From the day of Makar Sankranti, sun moves from tropic of Capricorn towards the North. Flying of kites is a gesture of welcoming Lord Sun. Apart from India, many other countries like Vietnam, China, Thailand, Malaysia, Japan etc. have the tradition of flying kites.
Importance of Flying Kites in Gujarat
Flying kites on the day of Makar Sankranti is considered significant in Gujarat. This festival is very popular in Gujarat as the sun enters the Uttarayan. People have the fervor of flying kites. From children to old age people, everyone is found flying kites on roofs, in parks and playgrounds. Everyone is involved in preparation of flying kites. People start collecting different colored kites and Manjha (thread), many days before Makar Sankranti.
On the morning of makar sankranti, people eat Gajak made of peanut, jaggery and Til. Also, do donations. And then from morning to night, they fly kites. Many people, are so very indulged in the act of flying kites that they don’t remember to have their meal. A competition begins of cutting each others kite. Everyone tries to cut the maximum number of kite. On this day, the sky is filled with colorful kites. As someone cuts a kite, all start many noise joyfully. Everybody enjoy and have fun. Many people play drums or Thali (plate) to express there joy on cutting a kite. Many people sit on terrace only with all there preparation of food etc. to enjoy this day. They prepare their food on roof only and sideways keep flying kites.
Kites when flown at night looks more fascinating. Lamps are lit in kites and then flown at night. Many people fly white kites with different colored lights and of different shapes. Whole of the sky appears to be filled with lights. This view is really adorable.
Importance of food on Makar Sankranthi
The festival of Makar Sankranto is celebrated magnificently in Gujarat. This day, kites are flow from morning itself. Khichdi is prepared and eaten on this day. Many things are mixed in Khichdi and it is cooked at a slow flame. This day, all vegetables are mixed to make a dish called “Udhiyo”. This vegetable is taken with chapati made of millet. Also, buttermilk made of curd is drunk. The food is enjoyed on terrace with flying of kites. This day, roasted green grams are also taken in food. Sugar cane is also eaten. Having sweet berry and Jamafal is considered beneficial, this day.
Gilli Danda and Makar Sankranti
On the day of Makar Sankranti, playing Gilli Danda is considered important in some regions of the country. Both of the things are made from wood. There is a big wooden stick called Danda and Gili(small stick tapered at both ends in conical shape). After eating and donating jaggery, Til and Khichdi, people come out in open ground to play this game. Then, small groups are made and game is started. All age group people enjoy this game. The game of Gilli Danda is not less then an international game for the villagers. Hence in villages, this game is played with more excitement on the day of Makar Sankranti.