Tuesday, October 01, 2013

Kite Wars

I recently read Charles C. Mann's book, 1491, New Revelations of the Americas Before Columbus. On page 372 Mann describes children's play in Santarem, a city in northern Brazil near the confluence of the Tapajos and Amazon rivers.

"After [church] services," he writes, "whooping kids fill the red-dirt churchyard and fly kites. Sometimes they attach razor blades to the sides of the kites and in a war of all against all try to cut each other's strings."

I remember my father telling me that, as a child on Ocracoke, he and his friends would attach sharp tin can lids to their kites, and have contests to see who could cut down the other kites.

Ocracoke Handmade Paper Kite














I don't know where it started, but I have learned that "kite wars" are traditional pastimes in India, Korea, and elsewhere in the United States, as well as in Brazil and Ocracoke.

Our most recent Ocracoke Newsletter is a compilation of humorous stories told by or about islanders. You can read it here: http://www.villagecraftsmen.com/news092113.htm



7 comments:

  1. And don't forget "The Kite Runner", a wonderful novel that takes place in Afghanistan. It's a great read!

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  2. Anonymous11:26 AM

    with the winds on shore kite flying is a perfect activity but one needs a Kite. Will you build a kite for your Grandson? I seem to have mis shelved my copy of a little book of kite directions therefore ,I am unable to share the name of the book with you, sorry .DD

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    1. The paper kite in the photo is one I built for my grandson...without the aid of a book. It's just like the ones I learned to build when I was a kid.

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  3. Anonymous9:52 AM

    What kind of paper did you use or was it a fabric? I must admit the many kites in the book were many shapes.

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    1. It was just newsprint. We buy it in large rolls to wrap around fragile purchases at Village Craftsmen.

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  4. Anonymous5:40 PM

    Do you think Native Americans may have taught Ocracokers since they had been having kite battles long before any settlers arrived.

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    Replies
    1. This is possible, of course, but I have no way of knowing one way or the other.

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