A Fascinating Fact
Did you know that the word “kite” comes from the name of a type of bird belonging to the hawk family? This bird is prominently known for its graceful, soaring flight, hence the comparison to a flying kite and thus the name.
Getting to Know a bit About Kites
Kites are found to be first developed in China, in around 200 B.C then later spread out to other countries and continents. Several references have been made to them throughout the history, showing their prominence.
Back then, kites were made out of cloth banners. They flew in the wind while attached to cords or flexible wooden rods. Paper was invented around the year 100 A.D. and was soon adapted for making kites. Shortly after this, the cloth was also used for the making.
Back then, their first use was probably to signal at a distance. The kites were later used for numerous purposes, ranging from religious ceremonies to festivity and celebration to warfare.
Back to today
Today, kites are used mostly in kite flying shows and events.
Kite-flying is considered a sport these days by some, or just an activity to leisurely pass time by the others. Either way, it is a great way to spend time outdoors in the fresh air. In India, on the prominent festival of Makar Sankranti, you can see kites soaring through the evening skies. And Makar Sankranti is not the only festival. Dasara (in Karnataka) and The Chinese New Year are also celebrated with kite flying. The kite flying is not just confined to Asia, but can also observe in Europe and the USA on many special days and occasions.
Kite flying is adored and enjoyed by all! Who doesn’t love the sight of a beautiful kite in the blue sky? The activity of flying a kite can be empowering – you are in-charge of your kite; its motion, direction, just everything. It gives a sense of freedom and power to the flyer. This is why everyone who has ever flown a kite, loves the experience! But why don’t we see that anymore?
Today, the kite-flying has become an extremely rare activity. It is like an endangered animal, living at the brink of its extinction.
Where did all the Kites go?
With all the advancements and introduction of high-tech gadgets every day, kids these days grow up and aspire to live with state-of-the-art facilities. Our lives have becomes monotonous, with a sitting-in-front-of-a-screen routine. This has completely disrupted our lifestyles.
We no longer have the time to go out for a stroll, or we tell so to ourselves. We like to live in our confined digital virtual worlds, juggling between TV screens and phone screens and laptop screens. We cancel hanging out with friends to watch movies instead. Don’t we? And this has diffused to our upcoming generations too.
Our youngsters and the youth have become extremely hooked and addicted to technology. Kids these days prefer watching TV for hours and play virtual games and video games, rather than going out and playing games in reality. All this lethargy is causing our immunity to decline. It has also been proven scientifically that such lifestyle has made us lazier and susceptible to chronic diseases like diabetes.
And this is not just a sorrow tale of our youngsters. So many of us, grownups and young adults, have also become a victim to our hectic schedules and monotonous daily routines. We are so engulfed in our prime day to day ‘important’ routines, that we have still not realized what a great joy we are missing out on.
How many of us have flown a kite before? And how long ago was that? Do you see my point? We keep pointing at our younger generations about their lethargic lifestyles and non-caring attitude towards our cultures and traditions, but what about us?
This is not looking good
If only we would change our ways. Even at festivals, most of the kids these days either prefer to have an in-house party or just stay in the house. Forget socializing, it has become hard to get the youngsters out for even a friendly game or competition if it involves not looking at a screen.
This modernization is what the big threat is. The number of people going to kite-flying shows has depleted, our youngsters don’t realize the importance of playing outdoor games and doing outdoor activities. They have become blinded by the digital screens and living in their virtual worlds.
Because of the westernization, we are losing a hold on our cultures and traditions.
Kite-flying is one of the oldest cultures deeply rooted in the heart of the Indian history. Indians have known to be flying kites and holding competitions on Makar Sankranti and Dasara, all over. In fact, Gujarat, an Indian state, is one of the most popular hubs in the entire world for kite-flyers, there are many expert kite flyers in Ahmedabad.
Kite-flying is one of our oldest cultures. It is our tradition. It is our pride. And we must hold on to it, no matter what. Technologies can take-over manual tasks and virtual simulations can take-over reality, but nothing can take-over nature.
When we fly kites, we are in nature – in the open air. We get to breathe in our surroundings. It gives us a chance to break our monotonous routines of living in a digital and virtual world.
Kite-flying has thus been associated with self-expression. When we fly kites, we are in charge, and not the other way round. We become mindful of our surroundings. We become aware and we take charge. Kite-flying is a very refreshing activity, which will surely leave you fresh and wanting for more.
And still, if I have failed to convince you so, I’ll go straight ahead and list some of the medical benefits of flying a kite. Shocked? I was too.
Why we should fly kites – some benefits
Kite flying is an outdoor activity. Being outside and experiencing nature helps in lowering anxiety and depression, thus benefiting your mental health and helps improve pain management.
Kite-flying is good for your eye. Not only is it a feast to the sore eyes, but it also helps regulate the eye muscles and nerves better when you try to look and focus on a flying kite. This helps alleviate eye fatigue and can prevent myopia.
Flying kites involves a lot of concentration and tracking the kite’s movements, which in turn allows us to stretch our shoulders and neck. While flying a kite, one is able to maintain the cervical spine and spinal muscle tension. This promotes the flexibility of ligaments and vertebral joints and prevents degenerative changes. This also increases the bone metabolism, which can help prevent cervical disease.
It is also believed to regenerate energy and has a way of reducing the building stress and tension
What is being done now?
Kite flying is very near and dear to our culture and our traditions. We cannot lose it to gadgets or our busy daily schedules. Kids nowadays don’t even know what kite-flying is or how it is done. Shouldn’t we do something about this?
A lot of people from all across India are organizing activities and workshops to promote kite flying. One such major promoter is FLY360. They are working hard on spreading the kite flying tradition in India and other countries. They have been the first ones to start kite flying shows in India such as in Ahmedabad, Kerala, Goa, Mysore, Siliguri, Mumbai, Bihar, Punjab etc. They were able to successfully host a kite flying show in Mauritius on the occasion of their 50th Independence!
Many schools in Karnataka, such as Kautilya Vidyalaya, organize annual kite-flying festivals so as to revive the tradition by encouraging students to cultivate it as a habit.
A colorful gracefully soaring kite is a breath-taking sight. Kite flying – a chance to create cheerful memories and have fun outdoor