Tuesday, 23 October 2012

Kite-flying in Ba Giang - Hanoi

Every year when comes the 15th of lunar March, Bá Giang villagers, Hồng Hà commune, Đan Phượng district, Hanoi province get merry and happy participating in the kite-flying contest, that entices visitors far-and-wide.

It’s closely related to a legendary story that Nguyễn Cả, a famous man in the village and a general of emperor Đinh Tiên Hoàng who refused high rank for his merits to return to home village and instructed his home-villagers in cultivation. In his life’s last days, he lived in modesty and taught young people games and sports, of these kite-flying is still exciting.

It’s told that one day when he and the village children started flying kites, a fairy man appeared, he bowed and then there came a white cloud that flied the stone, then a five-colour cloud came and there was poem-reciting. Suddenly, there were lightning and thunder and wind and rain, Mr. Nguyễn Cả also disappeared after that event. 

Villagers set up a temple dedicated to him and today Bá Giang temple is nationally classified as historic-cultural relics. The temple overlooks the rice-field and the dikes of redriver. It’s also venue for every year kite-flying contest.

The contest takes place in March but right from previous August, participation was ready. People chose bamboo, bought paper, made flutes, ropes… The rope to fly kites is made of good-quality bamboo, washed in banana water, then in boiling-water to make it tough and soft. The flutes are made of specific bamboo that give good sounds and the kites are covered with rice paper.

The contest is started by a procession of round cakes or bánh dày to commemorate the super-men. A man picked out to make the biggest sample kite (5m long and 1,5m wide) covered by pink papers and a poem was written on. Contestant bring their kites to the temple and there are about 50 or so participants from Bá Giang, Hạ Mỗ, Tân Hội, Liên Trung villages. The kites might be 3m long or at least 1m long.

In the cool afternoon of Southern wind, all kites high fly, people sitting in dykes or on ground of communal house watch the flying kites and listen to the merry sounds of flutes. Now and then, a rope breaks and watchers start flying their smaller kites, that make the scene more dynamic and merry.

Alter about hours, more ropes break and they lose, only few could fly high and in the final, there are just ten flying kites. The organizers meet in Châu Trần temple and the kite-fliers tie their ropes in front of the temple. Prizes (first, second and third) are rewarded to kites that fly high and get balanced. Prizes are presented to village gods and kites still fly until mid-night. The village seem more tranquil and poetic with flute-sounds.

If you are interested in exploring Vietnam travel you can visit Vietnam travel guide, Vietnam travel company, Halong cruise, Halong Bay, Halong tours site to know further attractive places. 

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