Indian Kite Festivals
January 14th is the festival of Uttarayan (also called Makar Sankranti), which celebrates the day when the sun starts to travel northward, marking the decline of winter. The holiday is widely celebrated throughout India with kite flying festivals. A large International Kite Festival takes place in the city of Ahmedabad, Gujarat in western India. The video below gives a rich and extensive view of the festival:
The kite festivals include competitions for design and beauty, but also to see which kites can last the longest and go the highest. Some competitors even coat the strings of their kites with a glue containing ground glass, so that the strings can cut down other kites in the air. This article contains information and images about the markets and kite festival
Enjoy these videos and photographs showing the city during the kite festival.
Make Your Own Kite
Try making your own kites at home and see whose can stay the longest in the air, achieve the highest flight, or incorporate the most colourful design. Click here to make your own kites at home.
Here are some basic instructions for making a kite:
Materials for each kite:
- 2 thin wooden sticks or dowels (one up to three feet long, the other up to two feet long), with notches cut in each end
- 1 roll of strong thread
- 1 sheet of paper large enough to fit the sticks when crossed, plus extra scraps for the kite tail – Mylar wrapping paper is extra sturdy and looks beautiful in the sky!
- Arrange the sticks in a T shape, placing them in such a way that the shorter stick is one-third of the way down the longer stick. Join the two sticks by tying a string tightly around the joint. Knot the string and cut it. Put glue on the string and let it dry.
- Slot the string into the notches and pull it tight, all the way around. Knot the two ends of the string together.
- Decorate the paper as desired. Put the frame of the kite on the paper. Cut the paper in a shape larger than the size of the frame. Cut away the corners. Fold the edges of the paper over the frame and glue in place. Allow to dry.
- Cut a piece of the string up to the length of two sides of the kite (one short side plus one long side). Tie one end of the string around the top of the spine and the other end to the bottom of the spine, making a knotted loop in the middle of the string. Cut off any extra string.
- Cut a string that is five times as long as the kite for the tail. Attach scrap paper strips to the tail, 8 inches apart and tie to the bottom of the spine. Tie the remainder of the spool of thread to the loop on the back of the kite.
- Fly your kite!
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