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Let’s enjoy Basant — a huge kite flying festival



In the Punjab region of northern India and eastern Pakistan there is a huge kite flying festival called Basant or Vasant Panchami.

This festival usually falls in late January or early February and marks the beginning of spring. This year in the Punjabi calendar, Basant falls on February 16 — National Kite Flying Day! It might be celebrated a little differently today with social distancing, but let's see how it's traditionally celebrated.

Hundreds of kites fly high in the skies over the city of Ahmedabad, India.
Photo by sandeepachetan.com travel photography licensed CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

You can see Basant Panchami festivals happening all over India but it is in the Punjab region where it is the most spectacular! The skies are filled with colourful kites and yellow ribbons.

Girl looking up at her kite with yellow tails.
Photo by BMW Guggenheim Lab licensed CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

In the early 1800’s, Maharaja Ranjit Singh (the founder of the Sikh Empire) and his queen Moran would dress in yellow and fly kites to mark the start of spring. This is why kites have become a yearly tradition as part of the Basant celebrations. Many people wear different shades of yellow as well to welcome the new season.

A family flies a blue and black kite on a rooftop in Lahore, Pakistan.
People fly kites to celebrate the spring festival, Basant, in a Feb. 9, 2003 file photo, in Lahore, Pakistan. (AP Photo/B.K.Bangash, File)

Flying kites isn’t the only way that people celebrate Basant. There are many local fairs where friends and family meet and local vendors sell bracelets (also known as bangles), clothing and delicious things to eat. People enjoy visiting with friends and family and exchanging gifts and sweet treats. Oh, and there is lots of singing and dancing too!

Photo by Dani licensed CC BY-NC 2.0

Not only will you see yellow on people’s clothing during the Basant Panchami festival but also in the fields. Spring is the time when all of the mustard plants are in bloom and display their bright yellow flowers all over the region.

A mustard field in blooming yellow flowers.
Photo by Abhijit Kar Gupta licensed CC BY 2.0

Although it might not be the best weather outside in Canada to fly a kite, you could celebrate by making one inside!

Make your own basant kite:

  1. Click on the images below to open the printable templates in a new window.
  2. Print out the templates on your home computer.
  3. If you chose the colouring sheet - colour it in any way you like!
  4. Cut out the kite along the solid line.
  5. Stick it on your fridge.

Pink and yellow printable kite.

Colouring sheet featuring a basant kite.