“Uttarayan” flies high in Van Horn on Monday

Kite flyers from Van Horn, L-R- Daxa Bhakta, Sam Bhakta, Peter Bhakta, Chiman Patel, Nutan Patel,Gary Bhakta, Samantha bhakta, Bob Bhakta, Rakshita Bhakta, Champa Sardhar. Suman Bhakta. Sitting - Krish Patel.

Many of Van Horn’s Indian community gathered at Mountain View Golf Course Monday in observance of their culture.  A perfect day for the festival of kites to be celebrated quickly gave way to a fast approaching cold front in the  late afternoon.  However, it did not dampen the spirit on display of personalized kites flying high while participants and onlookers enjoyed a traditional sweet treats.

The festival of Uttarayan marks the day when winter begins to turn into summer, according to the Indian calendar. It is the sign for farmers that the sun is back and that harvest season is approaching which is called Makara Sankranti. This day is considered to be one of the most important harvest day in India. Many cities in India including the region of Gujarat organize kite competitions between their citizens where the people all compete with each other. In Gujarat and many other states, Uttarayan is such a huge celebration that it has become a two day public holiday in India this year falling on January 14 and 15.  

During the festival, local food such as Undhiyu (a mixed vegetable including yam and beans), sesame seed brittle and Jalebi is served to the crowds. Days before the festival, the market is filled with participants buying their supplies. In 2012, the Tourism Corporation of Gujarat mentioned that the International Kite Festival in Gujarat was attempting to enter the Guinness World Records book due to the participation of 42 countries in it that year.