Makar Sankranti (Utran), the Kite festival in India
Kite festival in Jaipur
Festival of India: Makar Sankranti
Makar Sankranti is a festival of India that comes on January 14 every year. The Sun goes to uttarayan (popularly spoken as utran) from this day according to Indian astrology. Sankranti is spelled and pronounced as Sankranthi in South India. Hence it is called Makar Sankranthi in South India. The Hubpages also spells it as Makar Sankranthi (See categories).
Makar is a Rashi (Zodiac) and Sankranti means transition. Hence, Makar Sankranti means the transition of the Sun from the zodiac Makar. People goes to Ganga Sagar near Kolkata, West Bengal, to take a bath on Makar Sankranti. Kumbh Mela also starts on the day of makar Sankranti and people go for a bath in holy Ganga or in Triveni. A Large number of people are expected to assemble in Haridwar this year for Kumbh Snan on January 14, 2010, the day of Makar Sankranti. Kumbh Mela will start from Makar Sankranti at Haridwar.
Makar Sankranti is also a kite flying festival or kite festival in many parts of India. Gujrat and Jaipur inRajasthan is famous for their kite festivals. Jaipur organizes international kite festival every year. Makar Sankranti is a popular word in Rajasthan whereas Utran (derived from Uttarayan in the Sanskrit language) is in Gujrat. Basant Panchami is also popular for kite festival in some places of India. Kolkata celebrates kite festival on Vishwakarma Puja but not on Makar Sankranti.
Kite is called Patang in the Hindi language. Hence the festival is also referred as Patang Utsav in India. Patang is also called Guddi in many places in northern India. A special type of thread is used to fly kites and that is called Manjha.
Makar Sankranti, Jaipur
Kite festivals and health
Indian festivals are related to health and wealth. The kite festival is not an exception. Both Makar Sankranti (Uttarayan)and Basant Panchami comes in the winter season. Makar Sankranti (Utran) comes on a fixed date of January according to the solar calendar but Basant Panchami is observed according to the lunar calendar. It usually comes in the month of January or February.
Sun rays are very good for health in the winter season. India is a hot weather country and winter is not very long here. Sun rays are harmful in the summer. Hence, Indian people can take a sun bath in winter only. Kite flying is a good way to get direct sun rays.
Kite festivals encourage people to go to the rooftops or to the open grounds to take a sun bath. people involved in kite festival keep their back to the sun. This saves their eyes and face from direct sun rays. All of us know that direct contact of sun rays to our eyes are harmful and dangerous.
kite flying in Patang Utsav also strengthens arm muscles. It is also a good exercise for legs and eyes. People keep their eyes on the flying kite (Patang) continually. It enhances their vision and strengthens their eyes. All these have a positive effect on health.
One can see the crowd on the rooftops of Jaipur and Ahmadabad during Makar Sankranti and Utran kite festivals.
Patang Utsav, Jaipur
Psychology behind the kite festival
The kite festival is not only an entertainment. There are psychological reasons behind the festival. People have to keep their eyes on flying kites (Patang or Guddi). They have to keep their eyes up! This affects them psychologically.
Keeping eyes up boosts confidence. It is a natural remedy for nervousness and depression. It motivates people to think high. The confidence of a kite flier skyrockets as kite moves up in the sky. It also enhances the concentration of the kite flier.
People also let their kites fight with each other. this is called "Pench ladana". It is a friendly battle. One needs a higher level of skill to cut others Patang. Manjha ( Special kind of thread) plays a great role in cutting others Patang (Kite).
The kite that is cut, flies randomly with the wind before reaching the earth. People keep constant eyes on those kites and try to get those. Again this boosts their abilities to grab the opportunities.
Do you think that this kite festival can bring people out from the depression of economic crisis, recession, and global slow down? Is it like a natural bail out plan? Will it help people coming out of the global crisis by preparing them mentally?
Kites have different sizes, colors, and qualities. It looks very nice and pleasant when kites of various colors fly in the sky. It is really colorful. Even trees are looked ornamented with kites fallen over these trees. These scenes fill the mind with joy and happiness.
Pongal- Makar Sankranti festival
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