“Year 2018, Mumbai kites festival will experience a varieties of kites of various shapes and arts. Just remember to keep a soft corner for those birds and say NO TO CHINESE MANJA, that’s it. Every person in Mumbai who tried flying kites or enjoy as spectator seeing competitive kites fight will love to be at home taking leave from job and adjusting time from business. ‘Makar Sankranti’, The Kite festival in Mumbai is equally celebrated with fun, music and food. Lets understand the cultural significance and the way celebration, kites flying fun, bad about festival and helplines for injured birds related in city with pictures and videos …”
Cultural Significance of Sankranti Festival
The ancient mythological describe this festival of kite in very different way. It was not the kites for which reason Makar Sankranti is celebrated, But its was all about the powerful solar body ‘SUN’ which is said to visit its son called ‘Shani Dev’ who resembles to be Guru of Astro (Rashi) ‘Makar’ in Hindi calendar and (As per English Calender its ‘Capricorn’).
Significantly its a day of responsibility and promise by son ‘Shani’ to his father ‘SUN’ to Adhere and keep alive all dreams of father and fulfill it. In simple terms ‘Makar Sankranti’ is festival of celebrating ‘Father & Sons Day’ all around India and also in Mumbai city. This festival also represents end of negativity as Lord Vishnu fought and ended the terror of evil Asuras.
Kites Festival Celebrations 2018 in City
So how kites came into existence when mythology story about Makar sankranti is so different and how TODAY people celebrates this festival of kites in sky ?. Within India their are some hundreds of castes and communities and sub-communities having different stories for every festival.
Same way Sankranti festival is related to Kites in the way said by someone is different compared to what other might say. Lets here one of the reasons how Kites are related to Sankranti festival and how is it celebrated in Mumbai city.
In simple terms, if you have heard about Navratri festival, Similarly another their is ‘Vasant Navratri’ which is a special festive period in hindu’s which starts in January every year. Goddess Saraswati the goddess of Money is worshipped and with relation to SUN, people offers rituals in the form of multiple color flowers and since its the SUN in the sky, People mind invented Flying Kites of different colors, size and shapes for fun and as a form of Offering to SUN. So in short the colorful offering are in the form of those kites and for our modern world its ‘Kites Festival’.
Flying Kites and Having Sankranti Fun
Sure Mythology has its relevance for festivals, But those kids and also young generation now are excited in fun part of flying kites and competing on sky cutting other kites around. Its an interesting kites race when the power of colourful and sharp threads works wonders and cuts one another flying high in sky. Many types, colours and shapes kites are now available in market starting at cost of Rs.5 to Rs.50 and more depending on the artwork, shapes and sizes. Its a kind of pride to fly a beautiful looking big kite from terrace of individual buildings.
Fun starts at early morning 7 Am when people who took off for the day as its not a public holiday in India, prepares with many kites (‘Patang‘ in Hindi) and the thread wheel (‘Firki‘ in Hindi) which has special threads for kites (‘Manja‘ in Hindi) goes to open grounds, terraces and also from balconies of flats takes the first fly in sky.
Mumbai’s suburbs like Borivali, Kandivali, Malad and Bhayander sky is most filled as major Gujarati’s are among top kites fliers and this locations are filled with them. People are so crazy flying kites that few don’t even prefer to come down to home to have Lunch. Special lunch and food arrangements are done on terraces by society with loud Speakers and latest rocking Bollywood songs the whole day.
People are in family and friends group to celebrate this festival at open ground and building terrace, the newbies learns to fly and prepare ‘Kunni‘ (the basic threading on kite) which is needed to be perfect for a kite to keep steady and twist turn as and when required during competition.
The fun is at other side too when those lower middle class and poor who cannot afford buying costly kites in Mumbai, Jumps out with sticks to catch the CUT kites from sky. Actually its another fun of who can grab the kite coming down to earth and then he owns it. Yet, their are some real negative side of such fun which i will cover in negatives section below.
NO, We are not done even after sunset, One can see ‘Candil Kites’ shining bright at night. Those are same kites yet very stable in sky attached along the threads some innovative fire candles which goes high in sky and one can see lighted kites till late night. There are also some special big fire balloons seen at night with which the festival ends.
Special Kites Shops
Every other lane in Mumbai can one see special Kites Shops selling kites and Colorful Manja (Threads), Most famous and effective colors of Manja’s are Pink, Chocolate and Grey. Lately these shops introduced ‘CHINESE MANJA’ the bird killer threads i must say, they are hard to cut and be made in to part by hands. Checkout this picture from Mumbai suburb.
There are wholesaler and retailers all over Mumbai, Yet Masjid Bunder, Mohd Ali Road and Dongri are locations known for Kites and Manja (Threads) wholesale shop in South Mumbai. A week before one can see those shops near streets.
Few Bad Things About Kites
It feels sometimes we human are really selfish, Just for fun of flying kites for a day, calling it a ‘Makar Sankranti Festival’ celebration, we ignore the greatest back fall of HURTING BIRDS, not only that many birds are badly injured, killed by neck because of those sharp threads people use to fly kites. They don’t understand and neither should, for them its some wearied thing flying in sky because of which they are scared and try flying here and their, becoming victim of those sharp threads, specially the worst type of threads used in kites festival called ‘CHINESE THREADS’.
‘CHINESE THREADS (Manja)’ are major sold around Mumbai and are very popular as they are less easy to cut by the competitor threads attached to kites. These are those threads who can cut off human neck too and every year many NGO’s like ‘Karuna’ and others, and bird lovers try helping birds and promoting ‘ANTI KITES’ try their best to make understand people the facts. I do personally like such unique festival of India to be celebrated in beautiful Mumbai city, But i DEMOTE and Request you readers, AT LEAST please don’t use ‘CHINESE THREADS’ for this day.
Similarly their are ‘GLASS DUST COATED Manja’, the threads which were famous since decades and was lately discontinued since its cuts fingers of flyers and also harms birds.
Kite Injured Birds Helplines Mumbai
If you are Android user, Helplines are available inside our Mumbai App
Simply contact Karuna (NGO) for animals at below numbers if you find any hurt bird or animal by kites. Below are Karuna’s helplines for Mumbai locations.
- Bandra to Andheri : 02265141313 / 02265151313
- Mulund to Kanjurmarg : 02232522588
- Thane District : 02225608383
Other Animal and Birds Helplines for Kites Festival
- PETA : +919820122602
- Ahinsa Group : +919920510888 / +919920510088
- PAWS (Thane to Kalyan) : +919820161114
- PAWS (Mulund to Bhandup) : +919892179542
- Sri Ramanagarh Trust : +919619933223
- SPCA Hospital : 02224137518
- People for Animals : +9198289060727
- Raksha : +919828500065
- Help and Suffering : 0223245673
YUVA Mandal (Station Wise Helplines)
- Chira Bazar : +919869138768
- Opera House : +919323245688
- Kandivali : +918451899899
- Borivali and Dahisar : +919324747555 / +912232522509
Alternatively you can take any injured bird at Sanganer Bird Hospital : 022-2575801 (Hope the STD code is right, Kindly help if anyone knows)
Hindi Slang’s Used For Kite Flying
- Kai Po Che : This is a very famous slang, Specially by Gujarati community, which proudly means ‘Yeah, I have Cut Your Kite’ and its my victory.
- Kanni : The Knot with 4 holes tied string, which should be tied properly for a steady flying kite. This knot is connected to main string (thread).
- Manja : This hindi word means string or thread used to fly kites.
- Firki : The rounded reel with extra sticks out to catch between two hands, made up of wood or plastics that carries the thread / manja / string.
- Dheel De : A direction to FIRKI holder saying let the strings out for ease.
- LAPET : Now, the word LAPET has 2 different meaning, for kite flying it means roll up back the strings into FIRKI. And the Mumbai slang for same means ‘LIER’ (means you not telling truth).
Note : If ONLY you are already at Virar, A small time Kite Festival Competition is held yearly. But not sure if it continues every year now.