The history of kites
The worldwide trend of kiteflying shares commonalities in histry, fun, and technological progress, though the exact date and origins of the pastime are unknown. Here, we want to introduce you to the development and culture of kite flying across various cultures.
Kite flying is a popular pastime the world over. What are some of the different cultural practices related to kite flying in different parts of the world? Let’s find out.
For both children and adults, kite flying holds a special charm. There is just something about being outside, getting some fresh air, and waving a structure attached to a string through the air. If you live in the West, you might assume that flying kites is a uniquely Western tradition, or at least most popular there. However, kite flying has a long and rich history around the world.
Kite flying actually began, like so many other things, in China. It was used during a military engagement around 475 B.C. to determine the distance between a certain building that was behind a high wall, and the army itself.
In Greece, a form of kite was used for fishing purposes starting around 400 B.C.. From there and other areas kite flying spread along trade routes, and as it spread, each region developed their own style, structure, and festivals. It is a fascinating history that covers large swaths of the world and has influenced human behavior, economics, and even poetry for many centuries.
In India, kite flying makes its first appearance in some early 13th century literature. However, we have almost no visual depictions of said kites. What we do know is that kite flying was favored by nobility (they probably had more time to have hobbies than the average person). Eventually kite flying became an official sport, which led to a culture of kite craftsmanship and one city in particular, Lucknow, becoming a hub of kite manufacturing. Even the kings got in on the action, and had cool kites hand crafted for them.
The story of kites in Korea is unusual. It was used to settle a rebellion that had erupted over whether or not a woman could run the country.
One night, a bright shooting star seemed to fall to the Earth, and was taken as a bad omen pertaining to the Queen’s rule. Because of this, one of her Generals decided to fly a burning kite attached to a string through the sky to spread a legend that the star had risen up and flown again. So, far from being a kids kite, this kite and others were used for ruling and military purposes.
Who doesn’t know the story of Benjamin Franklin and his kite paving the way for the invention of the lightning rod? In Europe, kites played an important role in the sciences. Big kites were used to test and study weather patterns and conditions. These flying devices also inspired all manner of up and coming aviators including the Wright Brothers. There was even a kite drawn carriage that was quite the novelty.
In Japan, the option to fly a kite for fun became available to the common man in 1683. The then-government of Japan became none to pleased though, when people began to shirk their jobs in favor of kite flying. They discouraged people from the sport, which in turn made the population irritated. Despite that history, the sport continues today and Japan is home to several kite festivals
There is no doubt that kite flying has had a big impact on history. With the plethora of high quality kites available on the market today, its as simple as the press of a button to become a part of that history. So grab a kite, get outside, and make history.