Owing to an increased risk of the Omicron outbreak in the community, the annual Indian Kite Festival celebration, on the occasion of Makar Sankranti, has been cancelled in Auckland this year.

The event has been organised every year with much enthusiasm by the Vaishnav Parivar NZ Inc., popularly known as VPNZ, for the past 15 years. Still, the Covid 19 pandemic has led the organisers to take the difficult decision this time.

The event celebrates the Kite Flying, which originated in the Gujarat state of India and is an annual observance celebrated on January 14th of each year. 

Also called Uttarayan in Hindi, it celebrates the end of winter and the beginning of summer as well as the upcoming harvest season. It is most widely celebrated in the city of Ahmedabad.

Interestingly, the first International Kite Festival was celebrated in 1989 when people from all across the globe participated and showcased their kites and kite flying skills.

Confirming the cancellation during Indian Weekender’s Gujarati show Jharoko, Manhar Patel, President, Vaishnav Parivar NZ, said, “Unfortunately, this year we will not be having the annual Indian Kite Festival which has been taking place in Avondale for years. The decision to cancel the event has been made by looking at the current situation of Covid-19 restrictions in NZ. We have decided that as a precaution we should not have the event as it will be difficult to make sure that everyone who comes at the venue adheres to the Covid-19 public health advice.”

Undoubtedly, when an event gets cancelled, it does bring a lot of disappointment for the organisers. Sharing the same, Vinay Mehta of VPNZ said, “It is hugely disappointing that we are unable to make our event happen this year. We were prepared for this event. We start preparing for it for almost seven to eight months in advance. We had even imported large quantities of kites and threads and were fully geared up for the festival, but then some things are not in one's hand, and you can't do much about it."