It was just over a year ago that we had the good fortune to be in Ahmedabad, India for the International Kite Festival that takes place every year on January 14th. The celebration known as Makar Sankranti marks when the sun moves into Capricorn and the days begin to get longer. Little did we know the scope and scale of this event.
Not only did we happen to be in Ahmedabad, but my friend, Dhaval whom I met eight years earlier on a previous trip to India, (we reconnected on Facebook before arriving in India last year) messaged us the night before, while we were retiring for the evening at our hotel, asking if we would like to join him and his family for the day to celebrate with them. We said, "Yes" with no idea of what an important day it was. Earlier in the days following up to the event we witnessed preparations in the markets; kites for sale everywhere with everyone involved in purposeful determination and attention to preparation of the kite strings to make them strong. The kite strings are coated with glass to cut the strings of other kites when they cross - it's a competition!
We joined our friend and his family on the terrace of their home in central Ahmedabad. We climbed to the rooftop to see the sights and began a day of kite flying. As the day progressed and into the evening, we were awestruck by the magnitude of the festival.
Dhaval's brother and son have been preparing for months for this special day.
Everyone, I mean everyone flies a kite on this day. This woman in her humble surroundings below also participates; she runs to retrieve her kite.
From rooftop to rooftop and as far as the eye could see - people flying kites! The entire city is involved in this day.
Two guys, two kites.
Even a monkey (there are wild monkeys in the city!) watched from the rooftops.
Folks on the rooftop below us. The kite strings are coated with glass in order to cut down others' kites in mid-flight. Despite the seemingly fierce competition, it's all in good fun.
Scott and I get into it - serious concentration!
Fun and pretty kite.
The kite needs a little adjustment and so our friend bends it a little for it to fly correctly.
Sun beginning to set. The kite flying continues.
Silhouettes and more kite flying.
Nearing the end of the day - it's not over yet!
The simple pleasures of a day of kite flying; innocent and loved by all, meant so much to us. Children and parents alike gathered with other families to celebrate. Special food is prepared for both lunch and dinner, such as green beans, special rice and sweets. These young men are preparing special sweets for the day. The women get the day off!
The evening comes to an end and I remember and loved this last image of the beautiful singing and dancing on the rooftops.