Pirate Kites take over Washington skies

Indian and Pakistani families came together on Sunday to celebrate the South Asian kite festival of Basant. Traditionally celebrated in Spring, the families have been coming together at Gunpowder Falls Park in Maryland for the past 7 years to celebrate the historic festival.

The event which lasted from 12 pm till 5 pm was hosted by ‘Patang Pirates’, a group of avid kite flyers from India & Pakistan. The group was founded by friends Shukoor Ahmed, Nasir Jamil and Mazhar Mansoor in 2011 when they organized the first ‘Patang Pirates’ get together at the Cherry Blossom Kite Festival. Since then the friends and their families have made it an annual fixture on their calendar.

“Many of us loved kite flying from our childhood, we are able to connect our kids, nephews, and nieces with an activity which is fun and brings people together. Our event brings childhood memories back to our elders,” says Shukoor Ahmed.

However bringing those memories back is not easy, as the kites which are known as ‘Patangs’ can not be bought locally. Shukoor custom orders his Patangs or Indian Fighter Kites straight from his hometown of Hyderabad in India. However, these paper kites require special attention and skill to fly and can not be flown in the rain. The event participants were served hot Chai tea and were also treated to lunch by the organizers.