Kites or Crowds?

Kite Flying is an exciting hobby, a sport and a recreation activity which is popular among all of us. August, the month of kites is already gone but the passion is still the same among kids who enjoy their school holidays, spend the whole day with their hand made kite driving along in the air currents. Not all the kids get this fortune unless you find a spacious place with enough breeze. The paddy field, the playground, a strip of land along the beach or even the rooftop can be adorned with colourful kites.


Children Flying Kites Freely

As a parent why should you support your kid to fly a kite? First, making a kite increases creativity, critical thinking and problem solving skills of your child. Determining the structure, selecting colours, and making a kite is a whole lesson of creativity and also it will enhance their imagination. Combuwa, the owl, peacock and crow are the most favoured structures among young kite flyers. Their own handmade kite is a treasure to kids. Balancing the kite is the serious task which needs patience, practice and critical thinking. ‘Seriyawa’ the connecting point of the string and the kite is needed to be fixed carefully. Secondly, flying kites increases skills such as communication and collaboration. It is a team work that children often fly kites with their friends , neighbours and siblings. Everybody wants to fly their kite till it dotted in the high sky. The atmosphere fills with joy, happiness, clapping and laughter. Flying kites is an excellent recreation activity for the whole family which will strengthen family bonds. It also will strengthen the bond between children and the nature. You will feel the breeze and the birds singing in the grove along the paddyfield or the soft murmuring of the sea against the blue sky. Thirdly, there are several health benefits that you gain by kite flying. Gazing at the blue sky will be a good exercise for muscles and nerves of the eye while running with the kite with string on your hand will be a perfect work out for your legs, necks and shoulders. Moreover flying kites is an excellent activity of releasing your stress after a busy day in the office or at the school. It is not a surprise that many children tend to fly kites after their exams.

The origin of Sri Lankan kite culture reflects our agricultural basis economy prevailed in the country. The empty paddy field after harvesting with vibrant air currents and blazing sun beams create the best place for tired farmers and enthusiastic kids to enjoy the day with their home made kites. In the commercialized world today, you can buy kites from kite vendors who stand along the payment or in the Galle Face.  Beside all, Chinese kite is an invader to the local kite market. According to local kite vendors, Sri Lankan kites are still most favoured which fly high compared to Chinese kite. Nowadays many local and a few international level kite festivals and competitions are organised by local kite organisations, TV channels, Radio fms, cooperate sector and community based organisations. Especially in the cooperate world the festivals are linked with with their marketing and branding strategies. Thousands of people with regained kite enthusiasm participate for these festivals with much interest.

In the international level, kite making is an industry which contributes immensely to promote culture, tourism in their respective countries. Johor Kite Museum, Kite Museum of Indonesia are some of private kite museum which attract both local and foreign tourists.  In most of the countries; Kite festivals are organised with the support of local or government tourism authorities. Recently introduced, Telangana International Kite Festival is organised by Telangana tourism authority in India attracting more than 20 countries while promoting their local and foreign tourism parallel to Pongal celebrations. Gujarat Kite festival in India also creates a ground to meet both local and foreign Kite flyers. Weifang Kite festival is one of the oldest  annual International Kite Festivals. Organised by the international Kite Federation, Weifang Kite festival marked its 34th international kite festival with the participation of hundred thousands of people to Shandong Province in East China with thousands of local and foreign kites in the sky.


An International Kite Festival in Cyprus

In contrary, Sri Lankan mega Kite Festivals may not quench the thirst of kite flyers or spectators due to poor event management. It is difficult to fly kites freely or to have a panoramic view of kites when the space was occupied by hundred thousands of people. The focus of the organisors is to get more and more people to occupy the space and to show the popularity of their event with number of heads attended  than flying kites. This dismisses the possibility of watching the beauty of kites and disturb kite flyers. Kite flying is a harmless activity but the falling tread can be sharp which can even kill people. Few deaths were reported in India after their throats were slit by kite strings. Several times Kite flying was banned in different states in India and in Pakistan due to the risk associate with fighting kites comes alone with a glass coated string. If you are taking your kid to kite festivals, make sure that they are safe and free from falling strings and huge kite structures.


A Crowded Kite Festival at the Gall Face Sri Lanka

Hence, it is the time for you to rethink before you get loss amid thousands of unknown people who desperately looking for celebrities in so called mega kite festivals. Go back to your paddy field, the playground or to your small balcony. You may relax yourself, feel the sense of your soul pulling against the gravity of the Earth, sending your kite skyward, surrounded by green lush of the paddy field or the soothing beach in the evening where you will find the connection between your soul and the wind’s subtle current. Feel the breeze, feel the life with kites.

Shiromi Samarakoon