Introduction

The lesson “The Kite Festival”, is all about the different kinds of kites, the history of Kite-flying, its invention, International Kite Festival at Ahmedabad and the beautiful Kite Bazar of Ahmedabad. The lesson begins with a story of a troubled mother who would often ask her restless son to fly a kite and her little son would happily pick up his kite and run out into the field.

Types of Kites

In the past, the only available kites were made of kite paper and thin wooden frames but modern kites are motorized and made of fibre glass. Today, kite-flyers can be found in different parts of the world carrying different types of kites-waiting for the right winds. There are many Greek, Indian and other mythological stories which tell us about human beings wanting to or trying to fly. Probably these desires of humans had led to the invention of kites. The kites of past were box kites which were designed hundred years ago, have inspired others to create the power-driven aeroplanes.

Makar Sankranti

During the Spring season, Makar Sankranti is celebrated, in which people of all ages go out into the open to try their luck with their kites. Despite low spaces, the town’s people find terraces and rooftops for this traditional sport. In Gujarat, Makar Sankranti is Kite-flying day and it’s a holiday so that people can meet each other outdoors to cut each other’s kites.

This day also coincides with the festival of Uttaryan,when the Sun is said to begin it’s journey to the northern hemisphere. Gujrati people celebrate this day with a lot of enthusiasm and all business comes to a grinding halt for a couple of days. Friends, neighbours, even total strangers compete with one another and cries of victory tear the air when someone cuts the line of a rival. There is music in the wind and traditional cuisines are specially prepared for the day.

International Kite Festival

International Kite Festival held on the same day at Ahmedabad is the bigger event which is organised by the Gujarat State Tourism Corporation either at the Sardar Patel Stadium or the Police Stadium. Little Indian kites made up of paper compete with the Japanese kites, the kites of U.S.A, the U.K and other nations. Kites with their astounding shapes such as that of eagles and snakes flies into the skies.

In the heart of Ahmedabad, Patang or Kite Bazar is highly appreciated for collection of varieties of Kites. Skilled craftsmen demonstrate the age-old- kite making skills and method of preparation of that special thread used for Kite-flying. Mixtures of glue and ground glass cover the lines, which are dried and rolled onto reels, called “firkees”. At night, illuminated box-kites are sent into the sky to add a grand beauty to the dark sky and compete with the brilliance of the stars.