Today is the Indian festival of Lohri also known in parts of India as Makar Sankranti. For many reasons I love this festival, one of them being that it falls right around my birthday!! Makar Sankranti is celebrated with prayers to Surya or Sun God and it marks the first day of sun’s transit or winter solstice and the start of longer days. It is one of the few Indian festivals observed according to solar cycle, while most festivals are set my lunar cycle of the Hindu calendar.
It is celebrated as Lohri in North India to mark the end of peak winter season and also farmers in Punjab begin their financial year on this day. Like most Hindu festivals, this one also is celebrated with delicious array of sweets that are different in different parts of India.
In Gujarat where I come from, we celebrate Makar Sankarnti by flying kites. It is the biggest kite flying day when everyone is on the terraces of their homes or apartments and flying kites and trying to bring down other kites. As preparation, for days vendors are busy selling colorful kites to the buyers who go home and soak the string with glass powder so they can cut the strings of other kites.
Here’s my little #Gujarati poem
સર સર સર સર ઉડે મારી પતંગ
એ ઊંચે ઊડતી જાય ને હરખાય
ઘડીક નીચે ડૂબકી મારે મારી પતંગ
ફરી ઉડે, જાણે હવામાં તરતી જાય
લીલા લાલ રંગે ચગતી મારી પતંગ
પાનખર આજે આભ ને મળવા જાય
Loosely translated in English as
Sir sir sir sir flies my kite
Higher it goes out of site
For a second, dives down my kite
And flies as if swimming in flight
In red green orange colors, my kite
As if autumn is falling upward to meet the Gods