Kite Flying in South Asia

Alison Rombough

Kite flying has always been a traditional and cultural aspect of South-Asia. Started by the Mughals in India at the time of harvesting their crops to celebrate the joy lately became an event called ‘basant’. Adopted by Pakistan and making ‘Lahore’ the heart of event, tourist attraction to Pakistan increased tremendously in months of February and March. Coloring up the sky and dancing on beats of drums along with freshly made BBQ on roof tops; it’s an event everyone waits for till next season.

South-Asian kite flying is different from other countries as there is an aspect of competition of cutting others kite with glazed and glassed strings. In china usually kites are plastic made,whereas in Asia kites are paper made with two bamboo sticks crossing each other. Chinese prefer to make shapes on kites or of kites relating to their culture such as dragons or giant animals,or u can say the things they consider sacred. But in Asia kites are simple box shaped,although some shapes are made on them like eyes or faces to make them seem more aggressive in sky but the basic shape is same as of square.

In Asia kites have many names like ‘Patahng,’ ‘Guddi,’ ‘Tawa,”Tukal,’ ‘Tedi Pan,’ etc. , usually each name refers to a specific size of kite or its tail size. Also in Asia many songs are specially made for ‘basant’ event to make them more cheerful. The traditional color of clothes for ladies on basant is yellow referring to yellow flowers of the sunflower and white for man.

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