14th January is the Kite Flying Day of India and many other countries. A kite is a flying tethered man-made object. Kites were first used by the military in ancient China over 3,000 years ago. The kite is said to be the invention of the famous 5th century BC Chinese philosophers Mozi and Lu Ban. By at least 549 AD paper kites were being flown, as it was recorded in that year a paper kite was used as a message for a rescue mission. After its appearance in China, the kite migrated to Japan, Korea, Thailand, Myanmar (Burma), India, Arabia, and North Africa, then farther south into the Malay Peninsula, Indonesia, and the islands of Oceania as far east as Easter Island.
Kites have also been used for scientific purposes, such as Benjamin Franklin’s famous experiment proving that lightning is electricity. Kites were the precursors to aircraft, and were instrumental in the development of early flying craft. Alexander Graham Bell experimented with very large man-lifting kites, as did the Wright brothers and Lawrence Hargrave. Kites had an historical role in lifting scientific instruments to measure atmospheric conditions for weather forecasting.
Now I would like to say how Indian people celebrate Kite Flying Day. First of all, we call it Makar Sankranti or Uttarayan. Makar Sankranti (It is a Sanskrit word) is the harvest festival of India. This spring festival is celebrated on 14th January, with millions of people flying kites all over India. Gujarat and Rajasthan are notable states of India which are known for their kite fighting festival. Highly maneuverable single-string paper and bamboo kites are flown from the rooftops while using line friction in an attempt to cut each other’s kite lines, either by letting the line loose at high speed or by pulling the line in a fast and repeated manner. They enjoy Uttarayan with sound of “Kapyo che” (I cut the kites) and other local slang’s. Sky starts changing colors like having rainbow of kites in it. People of Gujarat also enjoy this festival by having food called “Tal-sankadi” and “chiki” (Sweets), which is like sesame bar and peanut bar.
Uttarayan is the six month period between Makar Sankranti around (January 14) and Karka Sankranti around (July 14), when the Sun travels towards north on the celestial sphere. The period from July 14 to January 14 is known is Dakshinayana. The starting of Uttarayan is celebrated as Makar Sankranti throughout India, which is declared as National festival by Government of India.