With tuppence for paper and strings …

On Good Friday in Bermuda people fly kites.

Let's go fly a kite

Let’s go fly a kite

You will just have to trust me, in that picture there are some kites.

A traditional Bermuda kite is a geometric shape using flat sticks and tissue paper with string threaded around the ends of the sticks and then onto a much longer stick – easier to show you one than describe it:

Bermuda kites

Bermuda kites

If you go to the website mybestkite.com you can find instructions for making one.  And on Bermuda Yellow Pages they have short videos of Good Friday kite-flying

Why on Good Friday? 

There are two stories attached to this – one that a teacher was using a kite as imagery to describe Jesus going up to heaven and another that a minister wanted to boost his congregation so held the service outside with kites as an attraction.  I have also heard that the cross shape of the sticks are representative of the cross on which Jesus died.  There seem to be many such stories all embellished with local flavours and Easter kite flying is common in Caribbean islands and Guyana.

Where to see them? 

Experienced Bermudians told us to go along to Horseshoe Bay, so we did. Not wanting to have a problem parking the car we stopped in a roadside parking area opposite Warwick Camp entrance and walked first backwards a little to Jobson’s Cove and then along the dunes to Horseshoe Bay.  It is a beautiful day, sunny, breezy and warm.

South Shore from the dunes

South Shore from the dunes

The white specks in the photo above may be kites, or maybe Longtails – both were flying today.

A beautiful day

A beautiful day

If you are planning on walking in the dunes you need a hat and sunscreen and water.  We didn’t walk that far but it was hot enough for me to have a small strop on the uphill part going back to the car (just a small one).  Horseshoe Bay was pretty crowded. Earlier in the day there had been competitions for the biggest, smallest, highest, kite.

Horseshoe Bay on Good Friday

Horseshoe Bay on Good Friday

The kites are easier to see in that picture but the sky looks cloudy which it most definitely wasn’t.  You can also spot people in the sea – what happened to the claim that Bermudians don’t go in until 24th May?

Kites apparently began in China, reached Europe with Marco Polo and were in America at least by 1750 when Benjamin Franklin suggested using them to catch lightning to prove it was electrical energy.

We spotted lots more flying on the drive back home; it was by then after 3pm which is when traditionalists say kite flying should commence.  Across the road from the Botanic Gardens one kite had entangled with the telegraph wires – perhaps a budding scientist testing Franklin’s theory.

I feel I should confess that I have never successfully flown a kite. 😦 When the children were small we tried many a time on Farnham Park but the wind never seemed inclined to pick our kite up and the closest we got was one of us running along throwing this poor kite in the air while the children pulled hopefully on the strings. Of course we kept the kite, just in case, and only threw it out on moving last year – you always find a use for what you have recently thrown out.

Maybe next year I should have kite-flying lessons!

If you cannot get to Bermuda for next Good Friday then there are all sorts of kite festivals elsewhere: Portsmouth, Bristol, Cape Town, Washington State, Jamaica, and at least 25 more.

If you are on Bermuda and have a better photo of Bermudian kites flying please feel free to add it in the comments!

Let’s Go Fly a Kite
From “Mary Poppins”
Composed by Robert B. Sherman and Richard M. Sherman

With tuppence for paper and strings
You can have your own set of wings
With your feet on the ground
You’re a bird in flight
With your fist holding tight
To the string of your kite

Oh, oh, oh
Let’s go fly a kite
Up to the highest height
Let’s go fly a kite
And send it soaring
Up through the atmosphere
Up where the air is clear
Oh, let’s go fly a kite

Let’s go fly a kite
Up to the highest height
Let’s go fly a kite
And send it soaring
Up through the atmosphere
Up where the air is clear
Oh, let’s go fly a kite

When you send it flying up there
All at once you’re lighter than air
You can dance on the breeze over houses and trees
With your fist holding tight
To the string of your kite

Oh, oh, oh
Let’s go fly a kite
Up to the highest height
Let’s go fly a kite
And send it soaring
Up through the atmosphere
Up where the air is clear
Oh, let’s go fly a kite!

We ate hot cross buns after our walk, without the salted cod fishcakes – but that’s another post!

Advertisements

One thought on “With tuppence for paper and strings …

Comments welcome

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s