Hyderabad: 2020 has been a difficult year for everyone, with the COVID-19 pandemic keeping us all scared and isolated. But Hyderabadis are hopeful that the worst is only behind us and are marking the Makar Sankranti festival with greater joy, wishing it will usher in some good things for all.
For the festival of kites, many were seen purchasing colorful kites across the city. Popular kite markets, including those in Dhoolpet, Moghulpra and Hussainialam, attracted huge crowds on the eve of the festival on Wednesday.
“After fighting with COVID-19 pandemic, the new year started with new resolves. I will celebrate this festival with added joy, with flying kites. We must leave behind the anxiety caused due to the virus, as the vaccine also arrived,” said Sateesh, a customer who was purchasing kites at Gulzar Houz market in Charminar.
Kites with messages like ‘India fights with Corona’ are popularly bought in these markets. Some of them even have COVID-19 norms of wearing face-masks and maintaining physical distancing printed on them.
One of the vendors who sell such specialized kites, said: “We wanted to show how important these norms are, as the world is still struggling to cope up with the virus.”
“We sold around 18,000 kites today and most of those who bought were youngsters,” he added.
Not only Hindus, but people across religions fly the kites and celebrate the festival. “This festival does not have mass gatherings, so we wanted to celebrate it on a grand note, in whatever we have,” said Sheikh Mohsin, a final-year B.Tech student in Dhoolpet.
“Everyone has been frustrated by the virus and now it seems like everything is returning to normal. I have decided to celebrate on a high note,” said Anil Neelam, another customer.
Observing the crisis, the making of kites has been reduced this year, but gladly, people are still fond of celebrating festivals in a grand manner. “The sale has been obviously low compared to the previous years, but the people are purchasing kites above our expectations. Hopefully, this festival is bringing our good times back,” said Bhagwan Das Bajaj, a kite vendor at Gulzar Houz.
“There are several new varieties of kites available in the market this year. Most of the customers are asking for the kites with messages on Covid-19 norms and spreading the awareness on Covid protocols,” he added.
Every year, the Telangana government conducts a kite festival in People’s Plaza, Necklace Road, besides national and international kite festivals in Parade Grounds, Secunderabad.
But, they all have either been canceled or moved out of the city owing to the new COVID-19 variant from the UK.
Makar Sankranti marks the transition of the sun into the zodiac sign of Makara (Capricorn) on its celestial path. Milk, rice mixed with jaggery is cooked and offered to the sun god on the day.