The term Uttarayanis derived from two different Sanskrit words "uttara" (North) and "ayana" (movement) thus indicating a semantic of the northward movement of the sun on the celestial sphere. The festival of Uttarayan marks the beginning of summer, it is the sign for farmers that the sun is back and the harvest season is approaching which is called Makar Sankranti. To mark this festival, food such as Undhiyu (a mixed vegetable including yam and beans), sesame seed ladoos and Jalebi is cooked. A medley of pearl millet, wheat and sorghum is cooked and fed to the cows.Uttarayana is celebrated by flying kites, the skies are filled with beautiful shapes, sizes and colors of kites.
On 14th January 2014, disciples in Nairobi celebrated this festival in the presence of HDH Acharya Swamishree. The temple hall and the divine sinhasan upon which Lord Swaminarayan, Jeevanpran Shree Abji Bapashree and Muktajeevan Swamibapa reside were gorgeously decorated by a festoon of colorful kites.
After the sandhya rituals, Acharya Swamishree blessed the congregation and stated that Uttarayan is considered to be an auspicious day. The rewards of performing good deeds and charity are many folds. On this auspicious day many devotees offered gifts to Lord Swaminarayan.
After His divine ashirwad, Acharya Swamishree hoisted a kite along with balloons. He also lit lanterns and set them afloat in the sky. Everyone dispersed with a packet of delicious prasad and sweet memories of the evening.