Colors of harmony fly at BAPS kite festival
Kite flying is symbolic of nations coming together and celebrating life. The famous kite festival that turns the sky full of colors in India and other countries, served as a chord of communal harmony in Atlanta on Sunday January 13, 2008. The first annual kite festival was held at the new BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Hindu Mandir in Lilburn marking the beginning of an annual tradition to follow.
Uttarayan, known as Makar Sankranti in some parts of India, is the day when the sun starts to travel northwards marking the decline of winter. People of all ages fly kites from dawn to dusk. Crowded rooftops, fun-loving rivalry to outdo each other in kite flying skills and delicious traditional feast are the hallmarks of the day.
The kite (Patang) festival is a symbol of how a person can rise above unforeseen circumstances. 500 families participated in the festival from 11:00 am to 6:00 pm. Though it began as a calm day with only a light breeze, the participants were not deterred from getting their kites high into the sky. Later with the cooperation of the weather, the clear blue sky was filled with beautiful fluttering kites in all sizes, shapes and colors with the magnificent white Mandir in the background.
Fathers, mothers and grandparents were seen teaching their young how to fly a kite for the first time. With children running around trying to catch the falling kites and seeing the smiles on their little faces as they tracked down a kite made this family event a great bonding experience both emotionally and culturally.
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