Cambodia kite festival sets its sights high

25th Oct 2013

One of Cambodia's most colourful festivals and events literally gets an airing in December.

This ever-resourceful country has taken kite flying and turned it into an art form.

The practice goes back more than 2,000 years there and the children simply make kites and play with them like any British child would kick a football or hit a cricket ball.

A celebration of this most Cambodian of pastimes is staged across the nation on December 1 when visitors from all over the world join in.

The Cambodian Kite Festival is held in the harvesting season when the wind is strong enough to elevate them into the sky.

The south-east Asian country's first kite-flying festival in 135 years was held in the city breaks favourite of Phnom Penh in 1994.

This brought together fans from nine provinces to show off their skills.

Today, the event has become more international.

The 2009 edition was graced by flyers from countries such as China, Sweden, Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore and Japan.

It is always a vibrant affair with flyers painting the symbol of their provinces on the kites or national symbols, such as the national flag or one of the country's great cultural sites, Angkor Wat temple.

Also known as the Royal Flying Kite Festival, the flying of kites has religious connotations for the locals.

Hindus have flown kites for worshipping the Wind Goddess and giving thanks for bringing air and wind to the world.

Buddhists have flown kites for worshipping Buddha since the iconic figure's cremation.

But locals fear kites falling on their houses, not because of any structural damage they may cause, but because it is said to bring bad luck.

The householder will then vehemently demand the kite owners invite Buddhist monks in to chant and bless the property and its people within.


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