Mumbai’s landscape, never dull, harvested a rich crop of festivals Tuesday. Its skies were dotted with kites marking Makar Sankranti, Punjabis danced around the Lohri fires, south Indians churned up Pongal dishes, north-east Indians celebrated Bhogali Bihu, and Muslims celebrated Eid Milad-un-Nabi, the birthday of Prophet Mohammed.
Maharashtrian families were seen distributing the traditional sweetmeat, “teel-gul laddoos” among relatives, friends, neighbours and the casual festival visitors, and greeting all and sundry with “Teel gul ghya, ani god-god bola” (Have a teel laddoo and talk sweet).
In Gujarati pockets, the festival, also known as Uttarayan, was celebrated with thousands of youth and families packing themselves on building terraces or open grounds to fly kites and play aerial kite games.
Over the past few days, the railways and electric companies like Reliance Energy have issued warnings to people asking them to keep away from high tension wires when flying kites.
The Punjabi and north Indian pockets celebrated Lohri with dancing and festivities around fires since Monday night and merriment which continued throughout Tuesday.
The south Indian communities also celebrated the day as Pongal and the north-east Indians as Bhogali Bihu.
This year, the day also coincided with Eid Milad-un-Nabi, with programmes and processions around the city since the previous night.
The Muslim-dominated areas of the city were decked up with flags, flowers and buntings, qawwali programs were organised and special prayers held in mosques to mark the birthday of Prophet Mohammed.
In the evening, rallies will be taken out, including the procession conducted by the All India Khilafat House Committee launched by Mahatma Gandhi and Maulana Mohammad Ali Johar (from Khilafat House in Byculla to Crawford Market that began in 1920).