Dhaka is getting ready for Shakrain

The kite vendors are busy at work a week before the start of the Shakrain festivities. The traditional festival of the old town animates the district and the preparations are in full swing. Photo: Prabir Das

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The kite vendors are busy at work a week before the start of the Shakrain festivities. The traditional festival of the old town animates the district and the preparations are in full swing. Photo: Prabir Das

Shakrain – the most anticipated festival in the districts of the old city. There is only one week left, but excitement is in the air in the alleys of “Puran Dhaka”.

Shakrain is no longer limited to residents of Old Dhaka. It has become a celebration for all the inhabitants of the capital, and even outside.

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Like every year, the festival will be observed this year on January 14 and 15, to celebrate Makar Sankranti.

According to locals, eating pithas, made from new rice, and occasionally flying kites, is a centuries-old tradition.

Over time, the festivities have also changed. On the day of the festival, kites start to fly above the roofs of the neighborhoods, in the morning mist. As the day progresses, the festivities take on new colors. The afternoon ends with a game of kite flying in the winter air, while the night sky is illuminated by fireworks and lanterns in the evening.

The “Buro-Buri” puja will also be held in the temples on the afternoon of the festival.

Preparations for the festival took place Thursday in the Shankharibazar, Tantibazar, Laxmibazar, Narinda, Sutrapur and Lalbagh neighborhoods of old Dhaka. Kites and natai (kite spools) are also sold in small neighborhood stores.

Many have started a seasonal kite business.

When asked if the festivities would be different due to the Covid situation, Hossain Adnan, who came to Shankharibazar to buy kites, said the risk of infection is lower as they celebrate the festival on the roofs and between them.

According to traders, kites of different designs and shapes including Chokhadar, Pandar, Kathadar, Maladar, Pankhiraj, Chalandar, Petidar, Pandar, Prajapati, Dapas, Batur and Chil are available.

Regular kites are sold from 5 to 25 Tk depending on the shape. Foreign kites of different designs cost 150-600 Tk. A thousand meters of Manja wire from India or China cost 150 Tk. However, the more you get, the less you pay.

Mohan Sur, owner of Sur Ghurighar in Shankharibazar, said sales were lower this time around than before the Covid era. But one week before the festival, sales could increase. Although the prices are the same as before, due to the low number of buyers, the natis are being sold this time around for lower profits, he said.

For the second time, DSCC is also organizing the festival. The organization’s permanent sports and culture committee will organize the festival in all neighborhoods. The inauguration event will take place at Lalbagh Kella.


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