Kites in Bali
Kites in Bali are iconic. From May to October, you will see many kites in the Balinese sky with beautiful colours and many different shapes. It’s a bewitching ballet in the sky that has an important signification for locals people. Let’s discover this wonderful tradition !
Signification of this tradition
Some would say that this tradition comes from the peasants who built those kind of kites to distract them after a good work day and a good harvest. But actually, this tradition finds it roots in the local religion. It would be to honorate the god Angon, a Shiva diversification. It might be a kind of prayer to the god aiming to give fertility to their lands and to prevent the island from epidemic. Maybe this is why Bali is less affected by the Covid-19 than the rest of Indonesia… who knows. Even if for some balinese, this tradition is still religious, now it’s more a famous hobby than anything else.
Different types of Kites
There are two mains types of kites in Bali : The Old ones, and the Modern ones.
The old ones are traditional and represent an important aspect of the balinese culture. The most common are the “Layangan Bebean” the fish kite, the “layangan kedis” the bird kite and the “layangan pecukan” the leaf kite (an oval with triangle sides).
In the Modern category, there are contemporary shapes : the “Layangan Kepal Terbang” the plane kite, the “layangan kepal laut” the boat kite and the “Layangan KB” the family kite.
As said before, nowadays, making a kite is a hobby and an activity to share with the whole family. With some bamboo sticks, strings, tape, plastics, fabrics and painting, you can create a perfect kite, reason you can see thousands of them in the sky, especially in July and August, during the windy season.
First, you have to build a solid structure for your kite to endure wind strength and because you will tie your kite on the structure to the rope linked to the ground. Once this step done, you will be ready to decorate the structure by attaching your fabrics and plastic pieces.Then you still have to glue it to make a flyable surface and finally paint it if you want to customize your piece of art.
You can follow this tutorial and give it a go : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5cXW_OJAuXY
As kites are an institution, you can join the kite festival which is a contest of kite makers. It started in Denpasar in the 30s and now, it happens every July in Sanur. It is a fabulous show in the sky where you can see huge kites up to 40m meters long with many different shapes : dragons, sharks, dolphins,etc. The contest is won by the group of people who made the most beautiful kite and of course the one which flies the best. It’s always a very good moment and breathtaking to witness a sky full colours and shapes.