Makar Sankranti Kite Celebration Hits L.A. Beaches


Photos of an Indian kite flying celebration in Long Beach, Calif.

By C. MacDonald

Long Beach, Calif. -- More than 250 kite flyers celebrated the beginning of the harvest season in India recently. "It's a tradition that has happened for thousands of years in India and we wanted to share our culture with Southern Californians," said Vibhuti Nanda, co-vice president of events for the Indian Professional Network of Los Angeles and Orange County, who sponsored the Third Annual Kites Festival at the beach near Ocean Boulevard and 54th Place.

A major part of the Makar Sankranti celebration, which also comes with the cessation of the northeastern monsoon in Southern India, involves putting a lot of colorful kites in the air. People in India even fly them from their rooftops.

"We want to embrace our culture and the inner child in all of us and share it here," said the marketing strategist. "It's also a great way for families to get together and network."

Nayana Vora was helping her 3-year-old granddaughter, Alyna, fly a kite. "It's not only fun but a great way to link the past with the present and the future," Vora said.

At the festival, there were cultural vendors selling jewelry, clothes and kites. "I've sold around 100 kites and am sold out of nylon," said Neel Sodha, a kite vendor. "In India this event is the second biggest festival in the country."

A big hit at the festival was the Bollywood Food Truck owned by famous Chef SanJay Patel, whose food has been enjoyed by Elizabeth Taylor, Michael Jackson, George Clooney, Kate Hudson, Morgan Freeman and many other Hollywood stars. His delicious Indian eats to happy kite participants.

For more information on the annual kites festival, visit


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