January 14th has a tremendous spiritual and cultural significance for the Indian state of Gujarat. Parents who usually find it difficult to get their kids out of bed will find the same kids strategizing and planning aerial battles even before sunrise. The markets turn colourful with a variety of decorative kites and homes exue the sweet fragrance of special recipes ? Undhiyu (mixed winter vegetable) and chikkis (made of sesame, peanuts and jaggery).
January 14 is the day Gujarat celebrates the ?Uttarayan Kite Festival?. People throughout the state fly kites on this special festival ? especially kids and the youth. The sense of enjoyment is contrasted against a cutthroat scuffle in the sky as the kids try to out-maneuver each other with their kites.
The meaning of word ?Utterayan? itself defines the reason for celebration. It?s made of two words ? ?Uttera? that means ?the north side?and ?yana? that stands for ?to go?. On January 14, the sun travels towards the northern hemisphere and indicates winter?s retreat. It?s believed that the God who was sleeping throughout the winter gets up that morning. That?s why people celebrate it in early morning and fly kites to show their happiness. The kites are fabricated with special light paper and bamboo to be sturdy enough to fight with the rival kites
In Ahmadabad ? the capital of Gujarat state, Utterayan Festival is celebrated in a special way. The city hosts an International KiteFestival as a part of official celebration of this occasion. Master Kite makers and flyers throughout the world come here and present their unique creations and skills to enchant the crowd. Wau-balang kites from Malaysia, llayang-llayanghave from Indonesia and giant banner kites from the USA are some international varieties of kites, which have wowed people in Ahmadabad in past years.