Friday, November 4, 2011

Kite Stunnaz

--> Our first excursion in Guatemala was to Sumpango, a village famous for its kite festival on All Saints Day. The locals spend hours laboring over massive kites, strung together with bamboo and pasted with layer upon layer of colorful tissue paper. The kites carry messages to the gods for the year to come, reflecting the pains, hopes and desires of their creators. The event starts with the whole crown flying their own kites, leading up to the larger ones, some spanning up to 20 feet in diameter.

The launching and flying of the big kites takes a lot of effort. 4-8 men on the ground race off with a rope, launching the octagonal disk into the sky. Most of the time the kites make a massive crash onto the public below but others remain aloft for a while, fulfilling their purpose of bringing their message closer to god.

My highlight was finally getting my poorly-made (chino) kite assembled and ready to fly. After a while, a young boy came and watched as Jeremiah and I coaxed the bird into the sky. He stared at us for a while before I asked him if he wanted to fly the kite. He quickly grabbed the lead lie while I held the spool. Every time he got the kite more than 10 feet off the ground, he would pass the line off to me and jump up and down as I let the kite race higher into the sky. (This scene reminded me when my brother and I would play Super Nintendo and on a particularly challenging boss, my brother would jump up and down as I came close to winning).

After a while, the kid asked me if I would give him the kite. Now normally, I hate giving things to people who ask for them, it strikes me as disingenuous and a little pushy. However, on this day, with this adorable kite-less kid, I couldn’t say no. I passed the kite off to him and headed off to watch some more larger kite crashes.

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