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A Parade in the Sky: Bali’s Kite Festival

Sending a Message to the Heavens

The ancient tradition of the kite festival, which still rings true today, is to fly kites in order to thank the Hindu gods for abundant crops and harvest. While this was once the only reason for the festival, it has now turned into a competition, where teams compete for various titles such as the best launch and longest flight.

The kite festival is great in the sense that it very much promotes community, with teams of 70-80 people coming together with their own Gamleon band, flag bearers and flyers. And the kites are truly spectacular, a real parade in the sky with kites measuring up to 4 metres high and 10 metres long – however, some kites have tails that are 100 metres or more in length.

The kites used in the festival are Balinese traditional kites, of which there are three types: Janggan, Pecukan and Bebean. The Janggan kite is a bird-shaped kite that has a cloth tail which can reach up to 100 metres in length, while the Bebean kite is fish-shaped and the largest of the kites. Finally, the Pecukan is leaf-shaped and the most difficult of three to fly due to its unstable form. To truly gauge how large and extravagant these kites are, each kite is flown by at least 10 team members in order to ensure its success.

The Food of the Festival

While feasting is not a direct part of the festival, you are sure to build up an appetite after a day of watching the beautiful kites take to the sky. Luckily, Indonesia has some great cuisine to be enjoyed, which includes Satay, the indulgent Babi Guling (Balinese roasted pork) or some Betutu, consisting of a stuffed chicken or duck that was thought to be the king’s favourite. This is just a sample of the food options available at the many food stalls and markets in Bali for you to enjoy – and if you want some late-night eats, Sanur and Gianyar market are sure to impress, as they are known to have some of the best food on the island and cheap too!

However, if you don’t see yourself getting to Bali in the near future and you’re looking for some pan-Asian cuisine, Chelmsford’s Banana Tree is the next best thing. Offering finger-licking good chicken and vegetarian satay, Banana Tree has something for everyone and the best in not only Indonesian but Malaysian, Singaporean, Vietnamese and Thai Cuisine as well!