Friday, January 13, 2012

Dancing on the Rooftop on Lohri?

Known my several other names across India, Lohri is a festival where children and young men fly kites and celebrate. This was my very first experience actually seeing Lohri celebrated though I had heard it over the phone while hubby and I dated. Obviously seeing is much more exciting and so much better. I took over 200 photos and videos in between cooking 2 fabulous non-Indian meals today and running down to answer my friends over email because hubby needed my phone in case his friends call. Lol, he turned his off because his office thinks that work should be a 24/7 venture and neither of us agree.


Anyway I wanted to share everything with you guys. I know some of you are away from India and it's always nice to spark your memories of how these things are done in your mother land. I love some of the discussions we've had over past holidays. And for those of you who have never been here, it's nice to treat you so that you can see how festive the spirit is here on holidays such as this. Be sure to check out my YouTube channel for more videos because this blog would be too heavy if I posted them all here.

Hubby, who I had no idea could drag himself from the bed before 9AM actually woke up at 6 AM for this day. Of course, when he realized how cold it was he came back to bed for a little while. Still, he got up long before me and was disappointed the wind wasn't up to his desired speed today. I had to push to get him started. We also had family over so he's had a real "boy's" adventure for the last two days. It's given me a change of pace and some opportunities to try out some new stuff so I'm happy about that. Shhh...don't tell him I was really playing Angry Birds on the tablet while he was gone. >:D

I started out my day with a nice peanut butter french toast. Then I followed him up to take pics, make videos, etc. Then later I went back down and cooked my special chicken and green beans. (Nope, nothing healthy today because family is over and we can't show off my American chicken cooking talents if there's only fresh veggies on the menu...that and the chicken was specially requested.) Now be forewarned, if you decide to make that green bean recipe and you need to triple it - Don't add too much butter! Because that's what I did and then I didn't want to eat them. Ugh. The idea is for them to taste like green beans with a strong garlic flavor and the butter crisps up the garlic and makes the flavor stick to the green beans. They should not be swimming in butter because the only spoon you could find when you needed it was a large serving spoon. Okay, now that we're past that let me go back to Lohri.

I had to post this video. I think it encompasses very well what I saw today - all day, all over the neighborhood. Oh wait, I forgot to mention when hubby got up at 6AM, the loud speakers you hear blasting in the background were already playing from at least 3 different houses in earshot! Welcome to India hahaha! Thankfully I've gotten used to this and the temple starts at 4:30 AM so I slept anyway.



I got to see people "figthing" to take each other's kites out of the sky. Hubby took in 2 large and 4 small while I was video taping. I saw probably 10 kites get stuck in the tree behind our house and in the sky there were tons more being knocked down throughout the day. The loud speakers blasted music all day and still are at 6:30 PM. I hear some fireworks beginning. As the day started there were only about 100 kites in view in the sky. By the time it got too chilly for me up on the terrace there were well over 300 just in our neigborhood. You can get an idea from all the tiny dots in the bhangra video above.

This is a full role of nylon kite string. By the end of the day there was less than 1/3 of the roll left!

We also had a real mess of string all over both terraces. Kites coming down and being taken left strings going everywhere. They were hanging from our clothesline an over the terrace walls and you had to watch your step so you didn't get tangled up in it. Hubby has cuts on his hands and I'm pretty sure everyone else in the family that participated did too. FIL even came up and got in on the excitement and I got him on video making a mean face while he fussed at hubby and his cousin hahahahahaha. I'm loving it! That's one of those priceless moments you can only hope you had the camera rolling for and I had it! Sadly though I missed several instances of hubby going crazy taking down a kite and I missed the 2 cousins play fighting when hubby put his kite up in front of my camera. But I got a lot of really good and candid shots of the day.

This was definitely a site to see. You could feel the enthusiasm in the air and everyone was celebrating. Well, mostly the men but I did see a few women laughing at them throughout the day so I think that's fair lol. And now, I'm off to play Angry Birds...errr work on my tablet. >:D

8 comments:

  1. I LOVE bhangra. I'd be dancing on the rooftops too all day, and making a total spectacle of myself. Wish we had it in Mumbai. 

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  2. It's not a kite flying festival. It's a harvest festival. Lohri is probably the punjabi name but it is popularly called as "Makar Sankranti" though it is known differently from region to region.

    from wiki:

    In India it is known by different regional names

    Makar Sankranti or Sankranti (Andhra Pradesh, Bihar, Goa, Jharkhand, Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Manipur, Orissa, Sikkim, Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand and West Bengal)

    Uttarayan (Gujarat and Rajasthan)

    Maghi (Haryana, Himachal Pradesh and Punjab)

    Pongal (Tamil Nadu)

    Magh Bihu or Bhogali Bihu (Assam Valley)

    Shishur Saenkraat (Kashmir Valley)

    Makara Vilakku Festival (Kerala)

    In other countries too the day is celebrated but under different names and in different ways

    In Nepal, Maghi (Tharu people). Maghe Sankranti or Maghe Sakrati (Other people)
    In Thailand (Songkran)
    In Laos (Pi Ma Lao)
    In Myanmar (Thingyan)
    In Cambodia (Moha Sangkran)

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  3. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Makar_Sankranti

    People offer thousands of their colorful oblations to the Sun in the
    form of beautiful kites. The act stands as a metaphor for reaching to
    their beloved God, the one who represents the best.

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  4. Lol, they were having fun that's for sure.

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  5. It is also commonly known as the kite festival- especially among those who do not live in the farmlands or work in the fields. It's also a celebration of fertility, etc. etc. The list goes on as with most Hindu or Indian festivals.

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  6. Some ten+ years ago, people in maharashtra too flew a lot of kites but as villages become towns and towns became cities, the kite flying tradition almost died down because it is difficult to fly kites in the cities. Rural parts still get to fly kites i guess.

    btw, we used to fly kites in night also specially during this festival. They sell a thing called "kandil" which is this casing made of paper with a small hole on the top that lets you stick a candle inside it. It is tied to the string half way through and sent away with it. You cannot see the kite but you control its movement by watching the tiny candle lamp in the sky. Plus you need huge kites for it called "dhols" to be able to support the weight of the lamp.

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  7. I miss flying kites! In Kolkata, the biggest day of kite flying is during the festival Vishwakarma Puja <
    http://www.indianexpress.com/news/city-on-a-high-kites-fly-and-the-pujas-begin/518558/0>

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  8. That sounds fascinating. I can imagine how pretty it must have been to see the sky lit up with candles.

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