If you’re looking for a unique outdoor event to participate in and kick off the springtime in Austin, the annual Zilker Park Kite Festival is one of the must-haves. I’ve heard about the kite festival and been dreaming of it since the UT orientation for international students last August.
The kite festival was on March 6th this year, my boyfriend and I went flying the kite and had a great time there. There were children of all ages, adults and dogs all over Zilker Park, and all kinds of kites. It attracted a huge crowd because there’s no entry fee and there’s a lot of fun to have: kite flying demonstrations, friendly contest for kite flyers, food vendors (support local nonprofits), face painters, moonwalks and music, the on-site booth for making kites, etc.
We didn’t know how to make a kite, so we just bought one from a kite vendor there. It has been a long time since I flew a kite last time (maybe I’ve written about kite flying experiences in my elementary school compositions). Fortunately, I still remember the basics of flying a kite: the kite will ascend by tugging at the string while a slack string will allow the kite to drift with the wind and descend. After the first few attempts to get the kite to fly, the kite was sailing upward in the sky and away as far as my string could go. It didn’t take long before we finished using all the kite string! We were so excited that we forgot to steer it well and adjusted our stance as a surge of wind pulled our kite into a tree without warning. Luckily, we finally got the kite from the tree without any damage. After so much running and yelling, we became tired and sat down in the grassland to watch the beautiful flying colors bobbing up and down in the sky. It gave us an excuse to laze away a sunny afternoon.
I saw a family having great fun while the father was teaching his children to fly the kite. Suddenly, memories of my childhood came flooding back. These fond recollections lingered with me like a kind of homesickness gradually welling up in my heart, leaving me dejected. I’m like the kite, each year I sail higher and farther than the year before from studying in my hometown to overseas; my parents are like the anchor, each year unloop a little of the string from their hands, seeing me sailing higher and farther from them. I don’t know and I’m not sure what kinds of feelings they have when they unloop the string, more of happiness or sorrow? It’s very complicated. But as long as I’m the kite, the bond of family between us is just like the string and it’s always there.
The Zilker Kite Festival had a relatively long history and this year it’s the 87th. But compared to Chinese kite history, Zilker Kite Festival is still young. Kite is dubbed as the earliest flying object of the human being and China is the birthplace of the kite. Legend has it that in the Spring and Autumn Period (about 2,000 years ago), Lu Ban, the grandmaster of Chinese artifacts, made a bird-shaped wooden kite that could fly in the sky. After that, the paper was used to make kites. Beginning in the Han Dynasty, kites were used to measure objects and convey messages. Then in the Tang Dynasty, the kite was introduced to neighboring countries like Korea and Japan. Later in the Five Dynasties, a bamboo whistle was tied to a paper kite, which gives out a sound like Guzheng (a traditional Chinese music equipment) under the force of the wind. In the Song Dynasty, kite flying gradually became an entertainment game among people, and in the Yuan Dynasty, it was further introduced to European countries. In the Song Dynasty, kite-flying became prevalent in Weifang (Weifang International Kite Festival), and by the Ming Dynasty, it had gained even more popularity on a larger scale.
(P.S. I should have posted it earlier, but since I had a busy week before the spring break…)