Kite Festival charms spectators
On Friday morning, hundreds of giant colorful kites were bobbing around the blue sky of Padang Galak drawing crowds of spectators — locals and foreigners, to the annual Bali Kite Festival, which runs until Sunday.
Around 1,216 youths from banjar (traditional neighborhood organizations) across every corner of the island were enthusiastically taking part in this most-awaited event, showing off their masterpiece kites.
Wearing traditional Balinese costumes paired with fashionable sunglasses and sneakers, the village youths started the competition to the accompaniment of beating Ble Ganjur percussion music.
During the dry season of June, July and August, the winds usually blow steadily and the sky is usually clear and bright, but this Friday offered a cloudy day — but not a cloudy mood.
Each of the competing teams brought their latest kite creations, all of which are painstakingly handcrafted from bamboo and colorful cotton cloth to become highly artistic and extraordinary flying pieces of art.
The theme for this year’s kite festival is “Playing with kites to nurture unity and togetherness”, said I Gusti Putu Rai Andayana, chairman of the Kite Festival’s organizing committee. Competition applied to all categories of traditional kites, said Wayan Wirna, one of the nine jurors, as well as the highly individualistic unique kite shapes.
There are three traditional shapes of kite: Bebean (fish-shaped), Janggan (bird-shaped) and Pecukan (leaf-shaped).
The Bebean is the largest of these kites, and resembles a broad-mouthed, split-tail fish. The Janggan kite sports an impressive flowing cloth tail, often reaching 100 meters or more in length. The Pecukan requires the most skill to fly, due to its relatively unstable form.
“Flying kites is a post-harvest tradition in Balinese agricultural society. It expresses gratitude to God after the lucrative harvest yields,” Wirna said.
The kite festival reminds local youths of this precious centuries-old tradition.