Uttarayan– Kite Festival
Which is a period of harvest. The Sun’s run in relation to planet Earth will shift from the southern run to the northern run – from Dakshinayana (purification) to Uttarayan (enlightenment).
Today was a culturally important day for the Gujarati people as they celebrate the kite festival which actually proceeds over two days.
We were driven to someone’s private home and taken to the top of the building to the roof terrace. The group joined in the festivities by learning how to fly the paper and stick/bamboo kites. The colourful kites had a huge roll of string (made of thin glass) attached to it to control and wind up. Some of the kites went metres into the air thus the huge roll of string. A few family members and friends of the CEE staff joined us up there and shared in a treat that we could liken it to hot chips and sauce back in Australia, it was not too bad even though the sauce was green and spicy.
The surrounding rooftops were full of families enjoying the day flying their kites as high and as long as they could. There was even competition between neighbours to “cut” the other kites. “Cut” was a term used to cut the string of another kite in your way by knocking it with your kite string, cutting it with the thin glass.
(Group photograph from Nick Remmert)
After resting back at the hotel followed by dinner there the restaurant manager had organised for the group to travel into the old part of the city to fly kites at sunset from the hotel accountant’s home roof terrace. That was another wonderful and beautiful experience as it entailed loud music, some paper lanterns floating in the evening sky and to finish it off fireworks from all around us.
It was a very fun fulfilling day learning about the kite festival and how to actually fly it from the roof tops and just to see the joy on the children and parents faces as they spent time together celebrating LIFE!