Why do the Afghans gather at Lake Elizabeth Park in The Kite Runner?
The Afghans gather at Lake Elizabeth Park in Fremont, California, to celebrate the Afghan New Year, which occurs during early March, and coincides with the first day of spring. The Afghans in the Bay Area had planned the celebrations jointly throughout the East Bay and the peninsula. Although the weather is rainy, the event is well attended, with families arriving from around noon and gathering under a tent set up to provide shelter for the occasion. The talk is lively as old acquaintances are reunited, and there is much discussion about politics and recent happenings in the war-torn homeland.
By the middle of the afternoon, the rain has stopped. More families show up, and the attendees greet each other, hug, kiss, and exchange food while the children laugh and play games. There is Afghan music, and the enticing aroma of "garlic and morgh kabob" on the barbecue, along with fried spinach bolani and cauliflower aush".
Best of all, there is a man selling kites at a nearby stand, and soon an informal kite tournament begins. Boys and men show off the skills they learned back in Afghanistan, battling their kites high up in the air, and running to catch those which have been defeated and have plummeted to the ground. The sky is dotted with kites flying high, "speckles of bright yellow, red, and green against the gray", in a scene reminiscent of the way it was at home, long ago when there was peace and life was good (Chapter 25).