Customs

Kite Flying, An Almost Forgotten Thril

During the month of August in which wind tends to blow strongly, who has not seen the emotion with which children fly kites.  It is not only tons of fun and a healthy pastime, it is also a means of learning.

Flying kites is a traditional game that comes down from times past and is above all a delight, both for children and adults. It can be done alone or with others.

To make a kite you just gather some rather thin sticks so that when your kits is made it will not have much weight and can fly easily.  The number of sticks depends on which shape of kite we are going to make. It might be an H kite, for which we only need two sticks: one upright and a cross one. Or, it might be an X, for which we also only need two to make the shape of the letter.  Then we need plastic or kite paper as well as a string that is many meters long so that the comet, as we call kites in Spanish, can fly to its limits.  Finally, we need a plastic tail to maintain the kite’s equilibrium.

Tying a kite together (Luís Olivera Echegaray)Tying a kite together (Luís Olilvera Echegaray)
Tying a kite together (Luís Olivera Echegaray)

Once the kite is ready, you take it to an open and empty place where there are no wires or cables in which it can get stuck.

In order for our kite to fly, we need a strong wind.  When we feel it we must run as fast as we can so that our comet can take a strong impulse and rise up as high as possible.

Kite flying is a game that is practiced even in the most distant communities, in cities, countryside, and in elementary schools and high schools.  Children make contests to see who can make their kits fly the highest.  In this way they show strength and effort in order to be the best.

We can say that in rural Cusco this game is most practiced, since today in the city it is an increasingly forgotten custom and one that is well buried, especially among the youth, under pressure from mechanical and electronic games.  Motivated by their parents and teachers they may still practice this traditional game a bit.  However, we should also state that in the city almost nobody makes their own kites anymore. People do not put in the time to make them in traditional forms because in the market and in stores you can find plastic kites already made that are called Taparaco.  Their price varies between 2.50 and 4 soles, according to size, finish, and design.  There are generally two designs: One for girls—princesses, and one for boys—super heroes.

Father, Daughter, and Grandson Flying a Kite (Luís Olivera Echegaray)
Father, Daughter, and Grandson Flying a Kite (Luís Olivera Echegaray)

Kite flying does not require special skills and it is even not hard to make a kite.  You just need persistence and will.  This is a game that gives many benefits, such as running from one place to another, having patience while waiting for the wind to blow, and—above all—it lets people be in contact with nature.

You should not waste time. Before August is over, get out and make your comet rise to the sky.

 

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