Flying a Kite

Written by Michaela Rohlikova and Jan Bartyzal

Category: Tradition

Learn more about Flying a Kite

As it is well known kites came from China. According to legends they were the connection between humans and God, and they were supposed to scare off the enemy. After some time, kites were used by farmers to bring them a rich harvest. At that time, they were made from bamboo and silk.

In the Czech Republic this tradition became famous at the end of the 19th century, until then only the rich could afford them, because paper was very expensive and hard to get, until the first factories were build. Since then, it is a Fall tradition to take their kites and go to the nearest field.

But why only at Fall you ask? It is very simple. In spring and summer children had to help their parents in the fields, with the crops, and they didn’t have time to play. So once the crops were harvested and there was no more work the children had free time to enjoy their kites.

Flying kites became a famous traditional activity with children and adults in the Czech Republic. Once the cold wind comes the first enthusiasts start to show up in the fields with their purchased or handmade kites to show off their skills. There are many types, shapes, and colors of kites. Kites can be distinguished as for recreational or competitive use. The ones for competition are rarely found on any type of field. There are many shapes however the most common are diamond or triangle. Kites do not differ only by their appearance but also by price. They can cost from 100 to 1000 Czech Crowns ($5 to $50).

Many Czechs families prefer to make their own kite as to buy one. It is really easy to make one, all you need is paper, 2 wooden sticks, string, glue and a lot of colors to make an original design. It is a good activity for the children even without any supervision. So, imagine seeing the beautiful artistic displays in the Czech fields every Fall., it is almost like one of Josef Lada’s paintings. There is only thing left to have the typical Czech Fall atmosphere, that is baking potatoes in a camping fire.

Exactly, how is one supposed to fly a kite?

First you need to find a perfect place, a field is the best without any tall buildings, trees or electric wires. Another thing is that it needs to be relatively flat without any bushes or other things that might make it difficult for you to run around flying the kite. The perfect time to fly your kite is when there is average wind, if it is too strong your dragon (as Czechs call it) might fly on his own. The best way to get it airborne is by running against the wind once it takes off, then allow the string attached to it to go higher flying in the sky. Remember when you want stop flying the kite catch the kite before it falls to the ground, because it could get damaged.

If you are interested make or buy one and enjoy the flying season as it something that everyone needs to try.

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