For years, I wondered why do we fly kites on Makar Sankranti.
Surprisingly, I wasn’t alone. Very many who partake in the activity and celebrate kite flying with much competitive gusto also seemed to be lost on the ‘why’ of it. So then what is Makar Sankranti and why do we fly kites on this day?
Makar Sankranti or International Kite Day, celebrated on the 14th of January every year, marks the end of Winter solstice and beginning of the auspicious Uttarayan in India. In North India, this harvest festival is celebrated as ‘Lohri’ and as ‘Pongal’ in South India.
As per Hindu calendar, this day notes the start of sun’s journey into the makar rashi (capricorn) and thus is dedicated to the Sun God who is believed to fetch prosperity and growth. Rituals such as worshipping the Sun God, making sesame sweets, bonfires and fairs, donations to the needy, meeting and greeting loved ones, are all a part of the festive celebrations.
This year, Makar Sankranti is being celebrated on the 15th of January and masses around the country are more than thrilled about the festive preparations, as always. The annual International Kite Festival held in Ahmedabad that witnesses tourists from all over the globe is a sensation that hits the whole of India, and brings hoards of nationals together in Gujarat, to enjoy the kite flying ritual.
So then why is so much significance given to kite flying on this day?
As folklore has it, kite flying was initiated so that we get exposed to the early morning sun especially in these days as the sun’s rays are richer in Vitamin D compared to other months of the year. These rays rid us of skin infections, allergies, and illnesses that the long winter spell casts. Other beliefs have it that kite flying is a way to convey gratitude to the gods who wake up on this day after a deep slumber of six long months.
Isn’t that a perfect blend of science and tradition?
I love this day for the sesame sweets mom makes. The tilgul laddoos are my favorite and all year, many like me wait for this day to gorge on some heavenly homemade laddoos and share it with friends and family.
All in all, I wait for the flashy kites to fill the sky with colours other than blue and the warmth of bonfires to soothe the chilly nights. 🙂
I wish all you readers,
A Happy Makar Sankranti.
May your lives be filled with joy and prosperity.
Happy writing till we meet next.
Until then, carpe diem! 🙂