India — People from all walks of life in India will be celebrating uttarayan festival which starts on the 14th January and ends on 17th, marking the days in the Hindu calendar when winter begins turning to summer, known as Makar Sankranti or Uttarayan.
Uttarayan is celebrated all over Gujarat but the excitement is high at Ahmedabad, Surat, Nadiad and Vadodara. Surat, especially is known particularly for the strong string which is made by applying glass powder on the row thread to provide it a cutting edge.
Uttarayan or Navratri festival starts today in India when the skies over most cities of the state fill with kites from before dawn until well after dark and Kites of all shapes and sizes are flown, and the main competition is to battle nearby kite-flyers to cut their strings and bring down their kites.
On what is usually a bright warm sunny day with brisk breezes to lift the kites aloft, across the state almost all normal activity is shut down and everyone takes to the rooftops and roadways to fly kites and compete with their neighbors.
The occasion will be celebrated up to Sunday and businesses are closed to allow families to celebrate the great occasion.
Parents who normally find their children hard to get out of bed for school will find them setting the alarm for 5 am on 14th Jan., to get up and start flying kites in the ideal pre-dawn wind. The atmosphere is wonderfully festive, as whole families gather on the rooftop, special foods like laddoos , undhyu or surati jamun are prepared for eating over the course of the day, and friends and neighbors visit each other for group kite-flying fun.