Gujarat celebrates too many festivals every year among these Kite festivals is one of the grandest and stands tall. Kite Festival (Uttarayan) also known as Makar Sankranti in other parts of India is the significant as the day when the sun starts to travel northwards marking the decline of winters and heralding the beginning of warmer months. The days become longer, the skies clearer and the breeze coler. This festival is too much popular that it becomes a public holiday. Kites of various shapes and sizes are flown in the sky. There is so much excitement that people are seen on terrace by early morning from 6 am and start flying kites in predawn wind. The main competition is to cut the strings and bring down kites of one another. This competitive spirits make the festival an exciting one. All the roof tops fill with people and there is huge shouting and rejoicing when some ones kite brought down. The thread used for flying kites as known as ‘manjha’ which is realed on beems called ‘Phirkis’. The special kite thread is coated with the mixture of glass and glue to make it sharp for cutting strings of rival kites.
There is special kite market called ‘Patang Bazar’ which is situated in the old city. Shops and showrooms are decorated with variety of kites and exhibition of decorated kites are also held. Market is full of kites for sale and streets are full of people reeling their strings (manjha) on beams or spools called phirkis For the week preceding the festival kite market open 24 hours a day for kite lovers to make a good stock to enjoy the whole festive day. The special food made for this occasion like Ladoo, Jalebi, Undhiyu (amixed vegetable including yam and beans) or Surati Jamun are prepared for eating over the course of day.
After sunset special paper lanterns called tukkal are send by kite flyers in the sky, lightning up the cityscape. This festival provides lots of fun and beautiful memorable sights for a long time.
The symbolism of this festival is to show the awakening of God from the deep sleep. According to Indian history tradition of kite flying is a type of sport for kings and royalties where they display their skills and power. Although the idea of flying kites to celebrate Uttarayan was introduced by Muslims from Persia, regardless of these backgrounds or beliefs, everyone is welcome to fly kites. The first International Kite Festival celebrated in 1989 and people from all across the Globe participated and showcased their innovative kites. A master kite flyer Rasulbhai Rahimbhai fly up 500 kites on a single string come to a brilliant attraction.
Uttarayan is celebrated Throughout the Gujarat with Major centers in kite flying in Ahmedabad, Surat, Vadodara, Nadiad, and Rajkot. The international kite festival is held in Ahmedabad. A variety of kites are shown at Sardar Patel stadium in Ahmedabad during this Festival.
Uttarayan is celebrated every year on 14th January, Known as Makar Sankranti in other parts of north India and Pongal in Tamilnadu and continue till the night of 15th January.