Like so many other events on the Balinese social calendar, The Bali Kite Festival is a seasonal religious festival, which is “intended to send a message to Hindu Gods to create abundant harvests and crops.” (Wikipaedia)
The Festival takes place at roughly the same time every year, around mid to late July and takes advantage of the South East tropical trade winds that blow through this part of the world between June and September. The trade winds are the result of the flow of hot air moving around the equator, and create a stiff breeze everyday on the coastline of Bali that provides the perfect canvass for the Bali Kite Festival.
The Bali Kite Festival is held in the coastal village of Sanur on Bali’s east coast. Sanur is a very popular and beautiful tourism hotspot offering up 5 star hotels, internationally famous restaurants and Spa’s, high quality snorkeling, diving and surfing, as well as perfect beaches for relaxing and soaking up the sun.
The Balinese are renowned around the globe for their creativity and artistic impression and ability, all of which is on show at the Kite Festival. As I wandered the massive festival area I noticed Kite’s of all shapes and sizes, including psychedelic catfish, Hindu deities, pirate ships, frogs as well as the more traditional eagles and butterflies. Some of these kites were so large that it took teams of up to 80 people to rig them up and get them afloat. Once up however, the winds take over and the sky becomes a blur of shapes and colours.
Apart from enjoying the opportunity to witness first hand the local Balinese peoples incredible passion and ability to mix fun, creativity, religion and social harmony, I must admit that I thoroughly enjoyed wandering around the festival area trying all the local food delicacies that were on offer. Traditional Indonesian style noodles, fried rice and satay filled my belly, and to satisfy my sweet tooth I enjoyed treats of all shapes and sizes including rice pudding, coconut balls smothered in palm sugar and various other indulgences.
Approximately 1322 traditional kites were flown during this years three day annual festival. At the end of the day prizes are handed out for creativity, longevity and aerial expertise. If you missed it, dont panic, there is another one at the same venue next weekend 25 – 27 July 2014, or make sure to book your ticket to Bali for next years festivities!