Makar Sankranti is the day when, according to Hindu astrology, the sun begins its ascent into the northern hemisphere. This signals the end of winter and the beginning of increasingly longer days. The festival is marked by different traditions throughout the country, including ritual bathing, an exchange of sweets, and the well-loved Kite Festival. Kite-flying is especially popular in Gujarat, the state to the north of Maharashtra where Mumbai is located. In the weeks leading up to the festival, brightly colored paper kites dot the sky as children compete to cut their neighbors’ kites with strings covered in powdered glass.
These boys are applying a glass and glue mixture to the kite strings. The strings are then wound onto large spools to dry. The string is later wrapped around small spools, for use on individual kites.