They’re pretty, they’re colorful, and they flutter and float in the air….what could they be? Well, they are kites, of course! Who could imagine a better way to spend time than with a variety of other people, every person with his or her own beautifully decorated kite? For those people who are avid fans of such happy, vibrant occasions, International Kite Day is not a holiday they will want to miss.
The History of International Kite Day
Although no one knows exactly when their use began, it is estimated that kites have been around for more than 2,000 years and likely originated in China. One legend is that a Chinese farmer had trouble keeping his hat on in the wind, so he tied it to a string and when it blew away, he hung on to the end of the string. Thus, the first kite.
The first written record of kite flying can be found from 200 BC when a Chinese general used a kite to fly over a city he was attacking with the intention of measuring how far his troops would need to tunnel to enter.
Kite flying in India seems to be more recent, happening approximately 500 years ago as recorded in paintings from the Mogul Period. One theme related to this period was the use of a kite for a young man to drop messages to the young woman he loved who was being held in seclusion away from him.
Many people aren’t aware of the fact that International Kite Day originated in India, in the state of Gujarat, which is famous for the amount of festivals taking place there every year. The inhabitants of Gujarat begin manufacturing the kites months in advance so they can be sure to have enough, as millions of people visit Gujarat during it.
The kite festival, called Uttarayan in Hindi, celebrates the day that winter ends and summer begins, as well as the upcoming harvest season. In addition, the kites are meant to symbolize the spirits of the gods that are awaking from their deep winter sleep.
In the past, kite-flying in India had been a sport practiced by royalty and the very wealthy, but in more recent years it has become a festival for all the people who come from all over the country (and even the world!) to take part in. This might include people from Japan, Italy, the UK, Canada, Brazil, Indonesia, Australia, the USA, Malaysia, Singapore, France, and China.
How to Celebrate International Kite Day
Enjoying and paying heed to International Kite Flying Day can be planned for in a whole variety of ways, from the simple to the extravagant! Get started on how to celebrate the day with some of these ideas:
Travel to Gujarat, India for the Kite Festival
Certainly there are people who enjoy traveling and would jump at the opportunity to be in Gujarat for the actual festival on January 14th! What could be a better way to enjoy the day than actually participating in the festival where International Kite Day first began. It is guaranteed to be an absolutely incredible experience that will be remembered for the rest of your life. This will be a day with many thousands, or even millions, of colorful kites that will be floating above the area. In addition there will, of course, be enormous amounts of delicious, traditional Indian dishes available at all hours of the day and night, and a plethora of new people to meet and friends to be made.
Aside from the numerous food stalls and of course the kites, the kite festival also hosts many performers putting on acrobatic shows as well as other entertainers, so not a moment goes by that something exciting doesn’t happen! The celebration starts at 5 a.m. and goes on all day and all evening, until late at night. The evening is the most memorable part, when illuminated kites known as tukkals, are filled with lights and candles and launched into the air, creating an unforgettable spectacle in the dark sky.
Go Fly a Kite
Even for those who aren’t able to be in Gujarat for International Kite Day, that does not mean they cannot enjoy it in their own way. An ideal way to do this would be to simply purchase a kite and take it to a nearby park to fly it. There is something about a breezy day spent with a kite in hand that is incredibly relaxing, so most people will be able to enjoy the day anyway.
Learn How to Make Kites
Since International Kite Day falls in the middle of winter for those in the northern hemisphere, the weather might not always cooperate for kite-flying purposes. Even so, it’s still possible to celebrate the day by preparing for it and learning how to create a kite! Make them small or large. Even if they can’t be used immediately, they also make great decorations! Do a little online search to find out how to make some of these:
- Diamond Kite
Whether flat or curved, this is the traditional shape that most people imagine when they think of kites. It may also be called an Indian Kite or a Malay Kite.
- Box Kite
These might be rectangular, hexagons or other shapes. Their frames make them three-dimensional and are relatively stable.
- Snake Kite
These creative kites are made with a soft head that curves down into a tail. They are often brightly decorated to resemble dragons, caterpillars, fish or other animals.
- Bird Kite
This kite has a cross frame for support, and then wings that stick out the sides. Covered in paper or plastic, it resembles a bird and is often decorated with feathers, a beak and more features.
Enjoy International Kite Day with Family
In fact, for those who have a child/children, perhaps this would be a great day to spend some quality time together. All too often these days parents and children rarely even speak to each other anymore, so preoccupied are both sides with their technological gadgets. A small picnic and an afternoon spent outdoors may well be just what the family needs to have a talk and laugh together, and feel closer to each other.