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Thai Kites : Ancient Tradition

An early 1900s murals decorates a wall of the Thai Buddhist temple, Wat Rachapradit, Bangkok.

About Thai Kites

Kite vendors surround Sanam Luang Pramain Grounds

Kites flying as a sport has been popular in Thailand since The region of King Ramkamhaeng of the Sukhothai period, some 700 years ago. There is also evidence that King Rama II (1809-1824)enjoy kite fighting more or less in its day present day from.The King used to match his pentagonal male kite, called a Chula ,against a courtier's female kite, called a Pakpao,on the Pramain Grounds beside the royal palace,the same area from which kites are flown today.

The Chula Kites

The Chula is a sturdy 260 cm kite with a bamboo frame that has been seasoned for months.Shaped like a five-point star, the big kite has three sets of bamboo barbs attached to its line for snagging a female.It takes a team of at least 20 people to launch, maneuver and retrieve a chula.

The Pakpao Kites

The Pakpao is deceptively fragile, diamond-shaped and only 90 cm from stem to stern. Its defenses are a marvelous maneuverability and a 1200 cmloop of string hanging beneath its flying line, plus a 630cm tail with which it attempts to ensnare and strangle its opponent.The flirty little pakpao , with an expert at the end of its line, can dart in on its cumbersome male enemy with deadly accuracy.

A competition

To constitute a competition, there must be at least two pakpao teams for every chula team. Each game is held between two or three chula teams and five to ten pakpao teams.Ones afternoon's game lasts 45 minutes. Should there be more than three chula teams, a second set of 45 minutes is played. The teams draw lots to decide who plays in which set.

The Song Hong Kites

The Song Hong Kite has been part of culture of Burirum province for centuries.Where they came from,"nobody knows".They are flown every December at the full moon, when the wind is best and after the rice is harvested, for good luck and rain for the next year.If the wind is on time, the rain will be on time.The kites should fly well and make a good sound for three or four days and nights, or as long as the winds blows(as many as 10 days)

The kites 's shape is thought to represent a mother in the leading wing and a baby in the trailing wing. The humming bow is unique to the Song Hong Kite. The bow is made of bamboo.The vibrator is made of long thin rattan or palm leaf attached to short string and stretched between the end of the bow bamboo. A small ball of wax of each end of the palm leaf controlls is the sound.The lager the ball of wax , the lower the hummer's tone.

Click here to see picture of the decorative on the Song Hong kites

Click here to see pictures of The Song Hong Kite


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