Gigantic kites measuring four meters and more in width will take flight near Sanur Beach during the annual Bali Kite Festival. The three-day event welcomes kites in all shapes and colors, joined by a traditional gamelan orchestra provide music and entertainment.
In the competitive world of kite flying, inter-village rivalries can be fierce with catcalls or simple ridicule of a competitor, especially if a kite unceremoniously drops out of the sky. This rivalry even extends to spectators with the occasional outbreak of football style chanting for their own favourite.
Kites are judged on the ease of launching (notwithstanding the trail of destruction left in its wake), design, how high it flies, stability in the air and most importantly, the landing. Getting a kite back down in one piece in the exact spot needed is a tricky proposition – cue more comical collisions.
As with every facet of Balinese life, kite flying is steeped in religious symbolism. It was originally used as a way to pass on messages to the Gods, and traditional kites, which take the form of fish (Bebean) and birds (Janggan) depict Hindu deities. At every stage of the kite making process, blessings and rituals are performed for good fortune in competition.