Yanqi Kite Festival
    2009-04-13 10:51:06     CRIENGLISH.com      Web Editor: Yang Yang

A kite master from Weifeng examines his eagle kite at the Yanqi kite festival on Saturday April 4, 2009.[Photo: CRIENGLISH.com]

By Julianne Page

Did you know that the kite originated in China?

A famous Chinese philosopher of ancient China, named Mo Di, once lived on mount Lu in Weifeng in Shandong province where he created an eagle kite which he managed to fly for one whole day. This was the earliest known kite and it was flown over 2,300 years ago.

Early Chinese kites were used to relay military information and survey the strength and direction of the wind. It's said that kites first aroused mankind's interest in the possibility of flight.

As a form of recreation kites have remained popular throughout the centuries and these days can be found in countries around the world.

Recently I went to Yanqi village, about 50 kilometres north east of Beijing's city centre, to an annual kite festival to find out why kites, and kite flying, hold such a special place in so many people's hearts.

One young girl I asked told me she loves flying kites because they can fly high and are very beautiful. From what I observed, flying a kite, or even just watching one being flown, can bring a smile to your face.

I met a kite master from Weifeng who could maneuver his eagle kite, just as I imagined Mo Di did so long ago. Seemingly without effort, and surprisingly without much wind, he could send his kite into the air with a just a flick of his wrist.

He told me he was replicating the flight of a hovering eagle.  He had absolute control as he maneuvered his kite to swoop just above the ground and climb high into the air again. It was a joy to watch.

Mr Yuan, the director of the Yanqi kite festival, is looking at ways to increase the scale of this event. This year they have invited kite makers from the nearby village which has a reputation as a home of kite making. Night kite flying in which the kites have lights attached has also been included as well as an entertainment stage featuring singing and dancing.

A series of stalls selling kites of all descriptions was also on display. An incredible assortment of colours, materials and designs lined to walls, ranging from the simple to elaborate.

People feel free when flying a kite. It's a form of relaxation and meditation for some, where they can clear their minds, get outdoors and feel close to nature.

Some people think kite flying is just for children but actually it's for anyone who's young at heart. So next time you feel the need to escape, relax or clear your head-go fly a kite.

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