The Bali Kite Festival is an international kite festival, held annually every July in the Padang Galak area of Sanur. Giant traditional kites, four meters in width and almost ten meters in length, are crafted and flown competitively by teams hailing from the villages of Denpasar. This event is a seasonal religious festival sending a plea to the Hindu deities for an abundant crop and harvest, and truly is a feast for all five senses. A gamelan orchestra provides the soundtrack throughout the festivities, as the legion of airborne kites dance to their beat.
If you’re lucky enough to travel to your Bali accommodation during this time make sure you don’t miss this festival! Bebean(fish-shaped), Janggan(bird-shaped), and Pecukan(leaf-shaped) are traditional kites flown during the festival by teams of ten or more adult kite fliers. The Bebean is the largest of these kites, and resembles a broad-mouth split-tail fish. The Janggan kite sports an impressive flowing cloth tail, often reaching one hundred meters or more in length. The Pecukan requires the most skill to fly, due to its relatively unstable form. The traditional colors of these impressive kites are red, white, and black.
The sight of these colorful kites gently bobbing in the blue Balinese sky draw many local spectators, as well as a large amount of visiting tourists each year. Officials report that over one thousand kites from foreign countries participated in the 2011 festival, lending this lovely local tradition a true international flavor.Each type of traditional kite has its own competition, with groups of ten teams competing for such titles as best launch and longest flight. Occasionally the kites come down over nearby rice paddies, and team members must dash through the paddy to retrieve the kite before it hits the water.
A competition is also held during the festival featuring new creation kites, which may include three-dimensional flying works of art depicting the Hindu gods, or even sponsorship kites. Both traditional and new creation kites are painstakingly handcrafted from bamboo and cotton cloth, resulting in flying works of art.In the dry season of June, July, and August, the winds blow steadily from east to west throughout most of Indonesia. During this period it is common to happen upon the charming sight of kids and adults happily flying their kites in the vacant rice paddies, even after the official festival has come and gone.