Florida communities are preparing to celebrate the festival of kite flying, which also is known as Makar Sankrant, Uttarayan, Lohri and Pongal. Here are a few:
BOCA RATON: The Punjabi Association of South Florida will hold Lohri from 6:30 to 10:30 p.m. Jan. 9 at Florida Atlantic University Boca Raton campus, 777 Glades Road; advance member tickets are $20; non-members are $25; children 6 to 10 years are $10; for information, call Renu at (954) 384-2217, Usha at (561) 523-8665 or visit http://www.thepunjabiassociation.org
SOUTHWEST RANCHES: South Florida Hindu Temple will hold Lohri celebrations from 8 p.m. with a bonfire on Jan. 13. The mandir is at 13010 W. Griffin Road, Southwest Ranches. For information, call (954) 252-8802 or visit http://www.sfht.org
TAMPA: The Gujarati Samaj of Tampa Bay will celebrate Uttarayan from 11 a.m. Sunday, Jan. 10, at the Florida State Fairgrounds, 4800 U.S. 301 N., Tampa. Use MLK entrance. Free for Samaj members. Non-member adults pay $15 and seniors/kids under 18 years of age are $10. Nominal parking fee is payable by all. There is a special discount for students with ID: $10. Snacks and lunch will be served. For more information, call GSTB President Jigisha Desai at (813) 731-7747 or Treasurer Keval Brahmbhatt at (813) 494-2700.
And on Thursday, Jan. 14, Sanatan Mandir, 311 E. Palm Ave., Tampa, will hold a Lohri/Makarsankrant puja at 8 p.m. For information, call the temple at (813) 221-4482.
Also, Ambaji Mandir will hold Vishnu Sahasranaman at 10 a.m. and 6 p.m. on Jan. 14. Ambaji Mandir is at 10991 58th St. in Pinellas. For more information, call the mandir at (727) 388-6685, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or visit http://www.ambajimandir.org
Laxmi Narayan Mandir, 4615 George Road, Tampa, will hold Aditya Hrydayam at 10 a.m. and Vishnu Sahasranaman at 6 p.m. Jan. 14 as part of its Makarsankranti celebrations. For information, call (813) 444-9786 or visit http://www.srilaxminarayanmandir.org
Also, the Maayboli Melawa Tampa Bay (MMTB) will hold its annual Makar Sankrant program from 3:30 p.m. on Saturday, Jan. 23, at HCC-Auditorium (Brandon campus), 10414 E. Columbus Drive, Tampa. Veteran Marathi actor Dilip Prabhawalkar will portray his most sought-of-enact “Chimanrao to Gandhi.” For details, email email@example.com or visit http://www.mmtbusa.org/
ORLANDO: The Gujarati Society of Central Florida will celebrate Uttarayan from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Jan. 10 at Apopka City Athletic Complex, 3710 Jason Dwelley Parkway, Apopka. Admission is free for 2016 members; non-members pay $35 per person. For information, call (407) 460-2020 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Lohri bonfire celebrations will be held from 6 to 10:30 p.m. on Jan. 16 by the Hindu Society of Central Florida, 1994 Lake Drive, in Casselberry. Pre-paid Tickets are $12 per person or $15 at door. For details, call Prashant Saoji at (321) 460-0800 or visit http://www.hindutempleorlando.org
Also, Maa Durga Sri Sai Baba Temple will hold a Lohri Festival from 5:30 p.m. on Jan. 14. The temple is at 11414 S. Apopka Vineland Road, Orlando. For information, call (407) 574-8044.
BARTOW/WINTER HAVEN: The Bhartiya Samaj of Central Florida will celebrate Uttarayan from 11 a.m. on Sunday, Jan. 10, at Mary Holland Park, North Broadway Ave., Bartow. Tickets are $25. For information, call Malay Shah at (863) 512-4062 or visit http://www.bscfl.com
MELBOURNE (SPACE COAST AREA): The Indian Association of the Space Coast (IASC) will celebrate Uttarayan from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Sunday, Jan. 17, at F. Burton Smith Regional Park, 7575 W. Highway 520, Cocoa. Tickets are $5 for paid members, $20 for non-members, and children under 18 years of age are free. For information, call (321) 271-6162, e-mail email@example.com or visit http://www.iascbrevard.com
NITISH S. RELE