Uttarayan also called Makar Sankranti or Sankranti, is a vibrant festival of kite flying celebrated in Gujarat and other parts of India. It is a sensory delight that goes beyond the visual spectacle of colorful kites decorating the sky. One of the often-overlooked aspects that add to the festival’s charm is the rich tapestry of sounds that accompany the festivities. From traditional tunes to the rhythmic beats of dholak, the sounds of Uttarayan create a harmonious backdrop to the joyous celebration in the sky. Here are the various sounds heard during Uttarayan:
1. Traditional Uttarayan Tunes: The air during Uttarayan is infused with the melody of traditional tunes that have been passed down through generations. These tunes, often played on instruments like the shehnai, flute, and dhol, evoke a sense of nostalgia and cultural pride. Families and friends gather, flying kites to the rhythmic beats, creating a symphony that resonates with the spirit of the festival.
2. The Jingle of Manjha: Manjha, the string used for kite flying, introduces a unique sound element to Uttarayan. As kites engage in aerial duels, the distinctive jingle of manjha against manjha fills the air. This sound, a symphony of competition and camaraderie, adds an extra layer of excitement to the festival.
3. Festival-Specific Folk Songs: Uttarayan has inspired a genre of folk songs specific to the festival. These songs, often sung in the local language, capture the essence of kite flying, the joy of friendly competitions, and the festive spirit that pervades the air. Sung by local artists or even impromptu by enthusiastic participants, these songs become anthems that amplify the celebratory atmosphere.
4. Street Performers and Musicians: Uttarayan transforms streets and public spaces into vibrant stages for musicians and street performers. From traditional folk musicians to contemporary bands, the festival attracts a diverse array of talent. The lively tunes of live performances add a dynamic and modern flair to the traditional soundscape of Uttarayan, appealing to a broad audience.
5. Fireworks and Crackers: As the day transitions into night, the soundscape of Uttarayan takes on a sparkling dimension with fireworks and crackers. The crackling and bursting of fireworks light up the night sky, accompanied by the cheers and applause of onlookers. The explosive sounds mark the grand finale of Uttarayan, bringing the day’s celebrations to a triumphant close.
Uttarayan is not just a feast for the eyes; it’s a symphony for the ears. The sounds of traditional tunes, rhythmic beats, children’s laughter, and even the silence between moments all come together to create a multisensory celebration.
Are you interested in sharing the essence of Uttarayan with your kids and loved ones?
I wrote a children’s book on Uttarayan titled ‘Dancing with Kites: An Uttarrayan Adventure‘.