Alfonso’s Makar Sankranti 11


It’s Makar Sankranti (the kite festival) in a couple of days and kites are starting to take over the skies, attached to children taking over the streets. Last Makar Sankranti, I was landing in Mumbai after my English Christmas holiday and the children who live in the slums surrounding the airport were all standing on the corrugated iron roofs, flying kites. I had never seen so many kites in my life! The year before last, I upset our small neighbour by being unable to help him fly his kite

Makar Sankranti has arrived in our home early this year. This afternoon Alfonso proudly brought a kite to me which he had found stranded on our terrace, It had obviously been a very well loved kite as it had been repaired several times. 

Makar Sankranti pug

This harvest festival has it’s share of traditions and significance, but the thing that makes this festival joyful for me is the sound of the children outside shouting ooopaar!! The children (and some big kids too) have battles with their kites and try to cut their opponents kite from it’s line by slicing across each other, which must be how Alfonso’s kite found its way onto our terrace. The winner screams opaar to proclaim their victory, whilst the loser runs away to find their kite.

The downside to Makar Sankranti is that for weeks afterwards, the nearly invisible kite lines litter the streets and tangle around your ankles. In a city with so many wandering animals (cows and dogs) it’s really dangerous. Luckily for our little dog, proud as he was to have caught a kite, he won’t be getting caught in the line because I have taken it from him (he wasn’t impressed by that decision). Many other animals don’t have someone to do that for them.

If you lose the battle and your kite this Makar Sankranti, please dispose of the line responsibly.

Have a lovely Makar Sankranti! OPAAR!

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About Lauren Mokasdar

Lauren fell in love on the internet, took a one way flight from England, got married & started a new life & bicultural family in India. She writes about finding happiness & balance between two very different worlds, when her baby takes a nap.


11 thoughts on “Alfonso’s Makar Sankranti

  • exsprepod

    Interesting 🙂 Here it’s not such a big thing. I saw kite fights only in the movies – one of the best ones was a Bengali movie “The Japanese wife”.

  • Manju Modiyani

    Hey Lauren! Cute post as ever! I really dread the festival of Makar Sankranti because of those dangerous lines. They cut really bad. There have been fatalities too. The government will be blocking the maanja that people use to fly kites, read it in the newspaper. Don’t know how much of that worked.
    BTW, what does OPAAR mean? Sounds to me like OPA! like the Greeks say. 🙂

  • Verity

    I’m in Pushkar and here it is a big rooftop party! There sooo many kites and it’s beautiful! Some of the families with kids have hired enormous speakers and a variety of dance music is being blasted out all over town.
    I see your concerns about the string – it’s absolutely everywhere. For his sister, himself and his 2 sons, my boyfriend bought 50 kites and 6000m of string!!!

    • Lauren Mokasdar Post author

      6000m! Wow!
      Yess, we had a lovely day in the end on the roof, everyone else on theirs, shouting to each other. A beautiful atmosphere!
      I hope you had a great one xx

  • Ravi

    The flying of kites during Makar Sankranti is a small part of the celebration. This day we dedicate it to Lord Surya (Sun God/Solar deity) who transits into Capricorn, we rejoice for good weather, harvest and health.

    Be blessed ?

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