One of the things my husband brought home from China was a beautiful red kite! It’s shaped like an octopus with eight long ribbons for tentacles. We tried it out on the weekend, and it flew very well thanks to its clever design which captures the wind in pockets all along the top.
The earliest kites were flown in China about 2,800 years ago. They were made of silk fabric stretched over a bamboo frame, and silk thread, which is strong and flexible, was used to fly them. Today it is still traditional in China to fly kites at the beginning of spring.
Kites need long tails to balance them, and they have to be extra light in order to fly high in the wind. My daughter had lots of fun trying to get our octopus kite up in the air. The wind was gusty so sometimes she had to run fast to keep it up! (She was also wearing leather gloves because the string can burn your hands if it gets pulled through them quickly.)
You also have to be very careful where you fly a kite. Make sure there are no overhead wires nearby as they are very dangerous. Tall trees are also a problem because your kite can get stuck!
It’s quite a skill to fly a kite, and there are thousands of people all over the world who take it very seriously. Every April an International Kite Festival takes place in Weifang City, Shandong Province in China. People come from all over the world to fly the most beautiful kites shaped like butterflies, birds, octopuses and all sorts of other things. To learn more about the festival in Weifang, click HERE. Weifang also has the largest kite museum in the world and the city is known as the International Kite Capital.
Kite flying is just as popular in Japan, India, Pakistan, Malaysia and Indonesia. There are many other kite festivals in these countries too. Have you ever tried to fly a kite? It’s so exciting when you get it up really high and the wind holds it steady. They are always brightly coloured so they look beautiful, too! Why not try and fly a kite today?