At the strike of every festival I miss being in India, miss being with dear ones, miss celebrating the festival. Unlike my dear hubby who enjoys on behalf of all of us, when his travel schedule allows him to steal a day or two to enjoy the festivities in home town.
I couldn't stop myself sharing about festival I haven't been able to celebrate since past 8 years - UTTARAYAN - MAKAR SANKRANTI (The Kite Flying Day). Since it was fast approaching I felt the need to dig down the old photos and share it with you all. I flipped down quite a bunch of cds before I could get you these snaps. These are our precious pieces of memories that came in handy to make you glance at the festival.
Those were the nostalgic days, when me and my brother would be so excited about Uttarayan and would start preparing for the day in well advance and the night before was the fun part! Making all the kites ready, pleasing puppa, convincing him to help us tie exact knots so we can finish early and wake up early for the next day. Making holes out of incense sticks and tying perfect knots of threads for tons of kites with proper measurement was my puppa's task. Oh, how I wish I could rewind that phase of my life and be in it again, how I wish I could show you our faces of that glee.
As I read on Wikipedia: Makar Sankranti marks the transition of the Sun into the zodiac sign of Makara rashi (Capricorn). The day is also believed to mark the arrival of spring in India. This is the only festival to fall on a fixed date every year.
Many preparations take place before the day. The markets would turn in to colourful garden of kites all around.
|Beautiful - Colourful Kites|
The manjha (the thread of the kites) will be made a special way, coated with powdered glass to make it sharp, one has to be cautious by covering it's fingers while preparing it otherwise the fingers could be badly damaged.
The night before the festival they have a special market called "HARAJI BAZAAR" (Bargain Market) To our surprise, you won't find room to step properly even at late night. People buy their kites at bargain price until late night.
On the Day, we would be up on our terrace at the break of the dawn without needing an alarm. We would be the first one on the terrace playing songs on our speakers without fear of getting scolded as that was our day, Uttarayan day. We would be at the very top of our terrace and see who else is up there to have contest with us. Yes, it's all about an intense fight between kites, between who can have their kite high up. It needs lots of attention and a partner who would hold your thread reel. Teaming up is necessary as the expert kite flier would fly the kite and another one rolls out the thread for the kite. Once the other opponent looses his kite we shout as loud as we could, we scream as hard as we could.....KAI PO CHHE....(remember that Bollywood movie, actually that movie gave quite a few glimpses of Gujarat festivals)
The tallest kite and the one up above all wins.
|The sky full of colourful kites|
How can I not mention the speciality food being a complete foodie person. Undhiyu ( a pure gujarati delicacy, though I can't make it) and Jalebi are the must food for the day along with TIL AND PEANUT brittle.
|My last year treat for the Uttarayan Day!|
|I managed this year - The Dry Fruit Brittle.|
As the sun sets, the paper lanterns take place of the kites and you can see the sky filled with floating lantern lights. The lantern is tied at the thread of the tallest and steady kite.
|Paper Lantern in the sky at night!|
Along with tons of fun, few finger cuts and neck ache ensures you that you enjoyed the day. If you happen to drop by Gujarat in January, do taste the enjoyment of the festival along with delicious food. This festival must be celebrated in the other parts of India, but the greatness of the festival is only in Gujarat. It is known as Pongal in south India and in the north, it is celebrated as Lohri. Uttarayan, Maghi, Khichdi are some other names I came across for the same festival. Whatever the name you celebrate with, have a great time celebrating it.