The sky is filled with colorful kites and the terraces are filled with laughter and cheer. Today is Makar Sankranti for Bengali(East India) and Uttarayan for Gujarati(West India). Since I am a Bengali from Gujarat, I get to celebrate both. It is a festival dedicated to the Surya Devta(Sun God). The days are expected to become longer from today. We worship the Sun God with prayers and offerings. People fly kites in Uttarayan. The stalls for kites start appearing from first week of January. The colorful kites of different sizes and designs hanging on the shop windows makes the market appear like a palette of colors. As a kid I used to look forward to taking a stroll in the market during these times.
Most of the delicacies of this festival are made with jaggery. In East India, they make Pitha from rice flour, coconut and jaggery. In West India, they make sesame and peanut rolls or bars(chikki) with jaggery. We spend most of the day in terrace flying kites and eating all these delicacies. This is also the time when families come togather and celebrate. Uptill last year, there used to be Kite festivals, where large kites of various shapes and sizes were flown. Participants used to come from all over the world to display their unique kites. It used to be a fair like atmosphere. During school days, the mid year exams used to get over just before Uttarayan. So it used to be a bigger celebration for us. This year I was able to celebrate the festival at home after a long time. My mother prepared everything I enjoy. The world is seeing a new hope with vaccines coming up after last year’s pandemic. I just pray there is a vaccine which provides us permanent immunity from this disease and again allows us to meet each other without the fear of getting infected. Happy Makar Sankranti and Happy Uttarayan to everyone.