Makar Sankranti Celebration at Family Art Labs!

We had a huge turnout on Saturday for our Family Art Lab celebration of Makar Sankranti, the Indian Kite Festival!  This celebration occurs once every year on January 14th, bringing together family and friends to share food and fly kites!  I was thrilled to learn more about the holiday from families who had experienced the festival firsthand in India.  It was also nice to share my newly acquired kite-making skills with the group.  All in all…an awesome way to spend a rainy afternoon.

We began sharing a few interesting facts about Makar Sankranti in the art studio and talking about some of the artwork we’d see in our Museum exploration.

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Afterwards, we took a trip to the Museum to do a gallery exploration of our 4th floor exhibition, Allegory and Illusion: Early Portrait Photography from South Asia.

We looked closely at portrait photos of south Asian families, noticing the different styles of dress in the photographs.  Many of the kids were interested in the “giant” view cameras, while the adults found the humor in the photomontaged photos.

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The last part of our Museum adventure included a stop at the interactive “photo booth” where families were encouraged to take a photo together and email it to themselves as a memory of the day.

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We then returned to the art studio to begin the exciting task of making our kites!  I began by demonstrating three different styles of kites to make and then let the families choose their kite style and kite-making materials.

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Everybody got to work, measuring, cutting, gluing, collaging, and creating.  The team efforts among parents and children were incredible and the creativity of the kids really blew me away.

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Some kite flying in action…

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There was even a robot kite…holding his own kite.

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Last, but not least, I made my first tilgul (ladoos) to share with the children.  These Indian treats are commonly shared on holidays like Makar Sankranti.  They were kid approved…mostly.

Here’s my recipe:

Ingredients:

  1. 1 cup roasted sesame seeds
  2. 3/4 cup jaggery (palm sugar)
  3. 1 tbsp ghee (clarified butter)
  4. 1/2 cup roasted peanuts (cashews work well too!)
  5. 1/4 tsp cardamom
  6. 2 tsp milk

Roast the sesame seeds.  Heat butter and jaggery until it melts and bubbles.  Add the milk and mix together.  *Add more liquid if it seems too dry.  Take mixture off the flame and allow it to cool for a couple of minutes.  Add cardamom, nuts, and sesame seeds and mix well.  Line a tray with parchment paper and use a spoon and your hands to form small balls.  *Coat your hands in ghee to keep the mixture from sticking to your hands.  Let the ladoos cool and harden on tray then store in an airtight container.  Enjoy!

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I hope to see you next month for our Traditional Tibetan Felting Family Art Lab on Saturday, February 8th!  Until then…enjoy your January!

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