5 Heavenly Kite Festivals from Around the World
Photo courtesy of Thinkstock
At these five festivals, seas of people celebrate with a rainbow of kites dancing in the sky. In many countries kite-flying is more than a hobby, but has religious and historical significance. As a tourist, joining in the revelry can be a great way to get an authentic cultural experience, plus kite-flying is just great feel-like-a-kid-again fun.
Washington, D.C.: Blossom Kite Festival
On March 28, the grounds of the Washington Monument will once again be speckled with visitors with their eyes dancing in harmony to the kite-flying performances fueled by the wind at the Blossom Kite Festival. As one of the largest kite festivals in the U.S., guests of the festival are encouraged to get in on the action by putting their awesome piloting skills on full display and partake in competitions like the Rokkaku Kite battle, which determines what kite will rule the sky. But when their eyes are not fixed on the skies, there are plenty of activities to keep visitors engaged, like kite giveaways as well as the opportunity to create their own kites in order to leave the Blossom Kite Festival with a well-deserved award.
France: International Kite Festival
Visitors of the International Kite Festival in France will more likely see a bear take flight than a plane (well, more accurately, a bear-shaped kite), but that is why hundreds of thousands of people are eager to see and take part of this kite-flying extravaganza every year. And on April 18-26, the festival promises to uphold its eyeful of captivating displays with synchronizing techniques as colossal kites of different shapes and sizes to become the sky’s main attractions. Taking full advantage of France’s pristine coastline, the International Kite Festival is one of the few in the world where spectators and world-class kite flyers welcome sand in between their toes.
Bali: Kite Festival
There is no question that kite-flying takes on various roles across the globe, especially in Bali where symbolic kites created in the likeness of birds (Janggan) and fish (Bebean) ascend into the heavens to grab the attention of Hindu deities in July. However, these are not the only kites that make huge impressions at the Bali Kite Festival, although it literally takes a village to construct their distinctive features. In the past, sharks and eerie creatures have also made appearances in Bali’s sky, which seems to convey the message that the bigger and outlandish the kite, the more they are pleasing in the eyes of the gods.
For many years India has been celebrating the end of winter by gathering on rooftops and dotting the sky with bright colored kites on January 14. And like most festivals showered with kites, you can expect there to be some friendly competition occurring amongst participators. However, there is more to Uttarayan than meets the eye, since the festival also symbolizes the end the Hindu gods’ winter hibernation. And while they wake, join in on the festivities by sinking your teeth in authentic foods that are specifically prepared to commemorate the holiday.
China: Weifang International Kite Festival
Kites are taken so seriously in Weifang, the city has been dubbed the “World’s Kite Capital.” This may also be the reason why visitors travel from all over the world from April 20-25 just to see butterflies, horses, dragons, and other characters fly through the air. Even before the festivities begin the Weifang Internal Kite Festivals maintains its world-class repute with a grand ceremony infused with exhilarating performances by acrobats, drummers, as well as singers, building up to the main event where one lucky kite enthusiast will be crowned "Kite King."
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