The vibrant state of Gujarat, which is a cauldron of various cultures, traditions, and colors, people of the state soak themselves in the enthusiasm of the Uttarayan, the day of the International Kite Festival. People of all age groups find themselves awake and soaring their kites high in the sky since early morning on this day.
The International Kite Festival is held in Ahmedabad every year to coincide with the festival of Uttarayan or Makar Sankranti. Uttarayan is one of the most important festivals for us Indians, as this day marks the change of the winter season to summer and signifies harvest season for farmers. This festival is much eagerly awaited and is celebrated with enthusiasm and fervor by the Gujarati community. Many visitors from across the world visit Gujarat during this time to witness and actively participate in this eccentric and kaleidoscopic festivities.
The History of Kite Flying and International Kite Festival
As per history, it is believed that India is the origin of kite flying, once a legacy of the kings and royalties later followed the Nawabs, who found the sport entertaining and show their power and position. Later, which was once a sport for the kings, became a popular phenomenon among the masses. It has been a regional event in Gujarat for quite a long time, however, in 1989, the first International Kite Festival was celebrated, and people from all across the world gathered to showcase their innovations with kites.
Since Gujarat, has served as a stopover and a center of trade activities from the Persian regions, it serves a true place of the cultural blend of the Hindu and Muslim cultures. Though believed that the Persians introduced the idea of flying kites to celebrate Uttarayan, it has been celebrated with great enthusiasm by the people of Gujarat.
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The celebrations at the International Kite Festival
On this day, people wake up early before sunrise and arrangements start for the making of delectable Gujarati delicacies as an integrated part of the festivity celebrations. Children and male members of the family gather in groups on the rooftops to reserve their places to fly kite throughout the day. Numerous and indigenously different types of kites are flown with kite experts arrive from different parts of the world and especially in Sardar Patel Stadium in Ahmedabad, the sky is covered with different kind of kites from Box kites to high-speed sports kites to windsocks and hand painted artistic kites. One of the highlights of the celebration which is a delight for visitors is the kite of master kite maker Rahim Bhai of Ahmedabad, whose 500 kites attached on a single string still remains a top attraction of the festival celebrations.