Known locally as layang-layang (kite) festival, Bali villages compete to see who can fly their kites the best. Unfortunately I don’t know the kite-winning criteria. I’m just an enthusiastic admirer of the festivities.
I was always a fan of kite flying, although I’ve only done it a handful of times. Why? Maybe because as an American, it’s not a very productive thing to do? Luckily I’m in Bali, where productivity is a foreign word! And like many things in Bali, kite flying is elevated from a mere fun pastime and transformed into art and spectacle.
The beach became a sort of kite stadium, with many hundreds of participants and spectators. For months during Phase I of the coronavirus the beaches were closed. And now, in most cases, the beaches are no longer crowded, as tourists are not allowed to fly here. So it was a major surprise to see such a large number of visitors to the beach. And while masks were widely used, unfortunately it wasn’t 100% enforced.
The festival tent is a temporary structure built just for the kite competition. A loudspeaker announces the play by play action of the kite flying teams.
As I mentioned in a previous post, the Balinese look towards the heavens from the point of view of their volcanoes, as some of their deities have their home there. So kites feed that skyward glance. It’s a very real way to get closer to the gods.