If you associate kites with child’s play, by all means there’s nothing childish with flying a kite 5m long, or one with tails as long as 200m. It’s a tug-of-war game against the wind, it’s a skill contest to flew it right and land it right, it’s a team effort to make it soar without trampling (or get trampled by) another team. Excitement can’t get any better.
Traditional giant kites are made and flown competitively by teams from the villages (banjar) of Denpasar. The teams consist of about 70 to 80 people, each team with it’s own Gamelon band, flag bearers and flyers.
The event is a seasonal religious festival intended to send a message to the Hindu Gods to create abundant crops and harvests. The three-day event held in July in Padang Galak area, Sanur Beach- Bali, welcomes kites in all shapes and colors, joined by a traditional gamelan orchestra provide music and entertainment.
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.
A competition is also held for ‘New Creation’ (kreasi baru) kites which may include detailed three dimensional figures representing the Hindu Gods or sponsorship kites.