WHILE firefighters were cursing Saturday's strong winds, Canberra's Indian community celebrated with kite-flying for the Makar Sankranti festival.
The Hindu day marks the start of the sun god's ascendancy and entry into the northern hemisphere.
Organiser Jigar Gosai, 35, said that in India, the Makar Sankranti festival is always celebrated on January 14, with millions of kites taking to the sky.
The Canberra festival was considerably smaller, with about 400 people enjoying vegetarian Indian food on the Emu Bank at Belconnen and watching the kites soar.
The blustering winds, which were tipped to reach 65km/h, proved to be a hindrance for the planned aerial display.
''At the most, we had 16 kites in the air,'' Mr Gosai said.
The organisers were selling colourful kites, with 700 snapped up by the end of the event, and they were planning for a bigger and better festival if calmer weather prevailed next year.
''We ordered 1000 kites from India, and 300 balls of string,'' Mr Gosai said.
The Dunlop resident enjoyed the day with his wife and two children.
''I have my in-laws here from India … it was their first time in Canberra, and they are happy.''
Ranjit Kang, 43, of Belconnen, tried to help his eight-year old daughter Ekam fly a kite.
His wife, Jaswinder Kang, 45, said it was a wonderful day out.
''It was very windy - but we tried,'' Ms Kang said.