Ahead of Gujarat’s Uttarayan festival, the famous market in Rajkot has been decked up with almost 1,500 varieties of kites, including coronavirus-themed. The festival marks the northward movement of the Earth on the celestial sphere and the name ‘Uttarayan’ is derived from two words, ‘Uttar’ which means North direction and ‘Ayan’ which translates to move. The auspicious occasion is celebrated on January 14 every year.
While speaking to ANI, a shopkeeper Rajni Patel said, “This year over 1,500 varieties are in the market. Like every year the kites of PM Modi’s photograph are in high demand along with coronavirus themed kites”.
A day ahead of the big festival, the Rajkot market in Gujarat has been stocked up with different types of kites printed with messages like ‘Modi hai too mumkin hai’ and ‘wear a mask to beat coronavirus’. The designs also range from photos of actors, cricketers and politicians. Photographs of Anushka Sharma, Virat Kohli, along with animated characters and superheroes are also printed on the kites.
A customer, who came to but kites, said, “I feel this Sankranti will be the best festival due to the pandemic as we all are confined to our homes. But now the government allowed us to celebrate it and I am very excited. I will celebrate it with my family. This is such a happy and joyous occasion for all of us”.
Every year large scale flying events and competitions are organised. An international Kite Event also takes place in Ahmedabad and people across the globe take part in the event to show their kite flying skills. However, due to the unprecedented COVID-19 pandemic, the government of Gujarat has only permitted the kite flying events to be held in the housing society premises. The Gujarat High Court has also refused people to fly kites in public places in a bid to curb the spread of the deadly virus.
Meanwhile, Uttarayan, which is also popularly known as Makar Sankranti, is celebrated across the country. There are several names for the festival depending on the region it is being celebrated in. Some of the examples include Poush sôngkrānti in Maharashtra, Goa, Andhra Pradesh, West Bengal, Karnataka and Telangana, as Sukarat in central India, as Pongal in Tamil Nadu, as Lohri in Punjab, and as Magh Bihu in Assam. The day also coincides with the Bhogi festival in South India.