History of Kite Battles

The exact date of the origin of kites is unknown, however it’s been claimed that they were first created in China during the 5th century. We do know that by 549 AD, paper kites were being flown in rescue missions and were recorded in the history books. Kites were also used for things such as measuring distances, signaling and communication for military operations, and testing the wind during ancient and medieval Chinese history.

Kites further evolved when they were introduced in India as fighter kites, also known as “patang,” and were flown by the thousands every year in festivals such as Makar Sankranti.

Through either their beauty or functionality or for noting the changing of the seasons, kites eventually made their way to other Asian countries, Europe, the Americas and all around the world. Historians think that kite festivals may have been a part of religious festivals introduced to Japan by Buddhist priests from China and Korea. Kites were still associated primarily with religious purposes and secular activities as late as the 17th century. Kite festivals are popular events all around the world and can vary from smaller local festivals to massive international kite festivals bringing in those from all parts of the globe to show off their colorful flying creations and their magnificent soaring skills.

One of the oldest continuing kite festivals began in March 1929 and is held in Zilker Park in Austin, Texas. One of the largest kite festivals is the one held in Gujarat on western coast of India. This International Kite Festival – Uttarayan which takes place on January 14th of each year, marks the arrival of spring in India and is a historical and traditional event. It is said that the festival signals the end of winter and the beginning of more clement growing weather for crops. This festival begins months and months in advance and can draw as many has a half million people to this part of India.

Japanese Buddhist monks brought kite festivals to Asian cultures based on their religious and historical connotations.

The reasons for kite flying are as different as the individuals that fly them. Coming together in celebration of kites at festivals is the one thing we can all agree upon. For just a brief moment in time, we can step away from our fast paced lives and enjoy the relaxation of our kite flying high in the sky and watch it decorate the sky!

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