Hyderabad: After enduring months of academic stress, Aryan, an undergraduate student, eagerly anticipates the joy of flying kites during the Sankranti festival. “As I fly kites, I feel free. It relieves all the academic pressure,” he says.
In the current digital age, characterised by constant connectivity and screen-dominated interactions, the act of flying kites during Sankranti represents a significant departure from the virtual world. It emphasises the importance of reclaiming moments of authenticity, encouraging individuals to step away from digital distractions and engage in a more tangible and genuine experience.
In the midst of Sankranti festivities, the convergence of nature, customs, and joyful traditions conveys a profound message. It encourages individuals to let go of anxiety, embrace the support of loved ones, and actively participate in activities that contribute to the flourishing of both body and mind.
Sankranti transforms into more than just a festival; it evolves into a comprehensive celebration of life’s richness, emphasizing the intrinsic connection between these cultural practices and mental health.
“I don’t have to worry about assignments or deadlines. I just have to worry about my kite not getting cut. As kids, it was just fun, but as we grew older, it became relaxing and peaceful too,” said Ankita, an undergraduate student.
The festival also provides an opportunity to nurture genuine connections and strike a balance between the allure of the virtual realm and the tangible world that lies beyond the screen. “I see my son playing video games and using his phone 24×7. But recently, he saw kites and asked me to get one. I invited his friends over on Sunday. I really hope he can see how beautiful the world is beyond screens,” says Aruna, a 28-year-old schoolteacher.
Consultant psychologist from Renova Hospital, Dr Asfiya Kulsum, says, “Social media and phone addiction have immersed the children. In these times, any cultural outdoor activity that builds up relationships, interaction, and family ties is vital for mental health. It also enhances attention and focus.”
She added, “Activities like kite flying encourage adolescents to spend time under the sun, benefiting them physically and mentally. It encourages interaction and collaboration, and there are moments of joy and despair. Shared interactions like this can strengthen relationships and friendships, which is a pillar of support in hardships.”
Kite flying relieves stress
Linda Wasmer Andrews, in an article published by Psychology Today, lists five healthy reasons to go fly a kite: Mindfulness, exercise, nature, socialisation, and beauty.
Mindfulness encourages a sharper awareness of the present moment. Indirectly, kite flying can lessen anxiety and despair because it’s easy to get absorbed in the here and now when watching a kite soar across the sky, momentarily forgetting about yesterday’s headaches and tomorrow’s deadlines.
Flying kites can inspire exercise such as running or walking, which is considered a cardio workout based on early studies, as well as interacting with nature, which has a beneficial impact on mental health as it can help decrease anxiety levels and can help lessen stress and feelings of anger.
Additionally, kite flying fosters socialisation and the fortification of bonds between friends and families. Beauty is in crafting a kite your own may be an artistic endeavor. However, even choosing a kite from the store is a way to express oneself and celebrate what’s beautiful to you.
“With my schedule, we hardly get to spend time together, and during festivities, I feel close to my family. My mom makes ugadi pachadi during Sankranti, and we gossip about how my dad used to fly kites. This year, he’s going to teach me how to fly kites,” said an 18-year-old NEET aspirant.