“Makar Sankranti is a well-known celebrated kite flying holiday that we have in India. It originated in the state of Gujarat, however, it’s celebrated all throughout India. It’s called by different names in different parts of India. For example, in northern India, we call it Lohri. It is a harvest festival dedicated to celebrating the sun god and it’s a day that everyone takes off from work to like thank all the harvest and things like that…more of a seasonal observance. One of the traditions we have on this holiday is kite flying which is meant to be a way that people would be exposed to the sun to get rid of the winter which kind of goes along with the harvest season that it brings.”
My roommate is from India and she talked about this kite-flying holiday. She came to know of this holiday at home. She doesn’t remember exactly what year or age she started participating in this holiday but “[she] remembers [she] was pretty young and kite flying was a pretty big thing.” She remembers it as a day when “everyone goes out and like sees the kites around…there’s a lot of competitions hosted in the neighborhood for who can fly the kite the longest.” This holiday is special to her because “it’s kind of like what Christmas is like for people over here.” It is a way for people to “get along with [their] family and spend time with [their] family.” This holiday is a way to “kind of like relax and connect with [one’s] community.”
This holiday supposedly marks the transition of the sun from the zodiac of Sagittarius to Capricorn. This holiday is set by the solar cycle and often includes many social events for the community to partake in. This holiday is celebrated in January and is regarded as important for spiritual practices. After talking with my friend, it seems as if the holiday now emphasizes social more than spiritual. I think the sun is still an important aspect of the holiday, but maybe not for the same reason from person to person. Oftentimes with holidays, even when they have lost some spiritual elements, they are still celebrated because people have been celebrating them for hundreds of years.