Uttarayan



One of the most celebrated festivals of Gujarat. In the month of January, people in large numbers gather on terraces to fly kites of various colors to celebrate Uttrayana, the welcome to the sun after the cold winter months. The atmosphere at the festival is electrifying-glass strengthened threads of the Indian fighter kites are matched against each other in the air, and the kite fighter who cuts the other thread is the victor.

Uttarayan Lohri marks the end of a long winter with the return of the sun to the Northern Hemisphere and hence the name Uttarayan. It is celebrated all over Gujarat but the excitement runs highest at Ahmedabad, Surat (known particularly for the strong string which is made by applying glass powder on the row thread to provide it a cutting edge) Nadiad and Vadodara. To be in any one of these places during this festival is to feel the heart and pulse of Gujarat and its people.

The day of Uttarayan has special importance and is regarded as very auspicious. It is also believed that the Gods sleep for six months closing the doors of heaven, which open at the entrance of the sun in northern zone, i.e. in the orbit of Makara , when the Gods awake from a long slumber.

Uttarayan also has a significant relationship with the agricultural economy of the state. By this time, the Kharif crops are ready and are brought home. In an economy which is purely agricultural, domestic animals are not forgotten and grass is freely distributed to the village cattle. Uttarayan, thus, becomes a harvest festival in the true sense of the term.

In Gujarat grain from the new harvest is used to cook 'khichdo'. Typical food like Undiya, sugar cane juice and local sweets are served to celebrate the day. Cows and trees are also offered pujan since man's existence depends on them. People forget and forgive ill will. For this, they ritually offer each other food balls made of sesame seed and jaggery. This is common in Maharashtra too. In east India, at Gangasagar, thousands of pilgrims throng to Kapil Muni's ashram on this day for darshan.

Regional Names


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