The centuries-old tradition of kite flying is followed by millions of people in Bangladesh, especially residents of the old parts of the capital Dhaka, who have been celebrating a kite festival every year for generations.
The festival, known locally as ‘Shakrain,’ is observed every year on Jan. 14-15 with thousands of colorful kites.
In the old areas of Dhaka, located on the northwestern side of the historic Buriganga River, people of all ages and professions head to the rooftops of their buildings or gather in open fields and fly kites of various colors and sizes.
“In my childhood, I used to see my seniors flying kites almost regularly. But with the passage of time, the capital Dhaka has changed its shape with the rapid growth of urbanization, and old Dhaka is now a jungle of unplanned concrete buildings and people have been addicted to modern technologies including mobile and computer games. But we still recall our oldest tradition and culture of flying kites at least two days every year,” Masud Khan, a 60-year-old resident of Old Dhaka’s Chawk Bazar area, told Anadolu Agency.
He said that like other big socio-cultural events, the kite festival is an occasion for them to enjoy their traditionally busy urban life in a fully different way.
“From morning until evening, we fly various types of kites, and from evening to midnight, we enjoy sky lanterns and laser lighting with the late winter night sky in the background.”
Symbol of unity
Speaking to Anadolu Agency, Morshed Mukul, a youth in Old Dhaka’s Lalbagh area, said the kite festival is a symbol of their unity.
“We meet each other on this day with great festivity and share good food with our neighbors.”
But now, life is robotic, in which humans function like a machine in a set circle, he remarked.
“We don’t even have time to pay a courtesy visit to each other in our struggling life. But on these two days, we forget everything and just enjoy ourselves with our near and dear ones, which removes the monotony from us.
“The festival reminds us about our distant past and encourages us to preserve our own traditions and cultures,” he added.