WTF Fun Fact 13316 – Bermuda’s Good Friday Kites

Do you know about Bermuda kites? Well, in Bermuda, Good Friday is celebrated by flying kites. The tradition dates back to the late 19th century. Since then, it has become an important part of Bermudian culture.

The history of Bermuda’s Good Friday kites

There are a few theories about the origins of kite flying on Good Friday in Bermuda, but not much is known for sure. Some have suggested that kite flying was something brought over by British soldiers who were stationed on the island. But it’s unclear what the Good Friday connection would be. Others trace it back to a local teacher who used a kite to explain the ascension of Jesus to their students around Easter.

The kites themselves feature intricate designs and colors, and people spend a lot of time and energy creating them. Bermuda kites are often over 3 feet tall and 4 feet wide, making them much larger than your average kite. They’re typically made from lightweight materials such as tissue paper, bamboo, and string, making them easier to get aloft.

According to Wikipedia:

“The kites are typically hexagonal, though larger examples, particularly, may be octagonal, or have even more sides. They are constructed from flat sticks arrayed like spokes of a wheel, with a nail at the axis. A string passes around the ends of the sticks, marking out the edges, and concentric strings are arranged inside of this, all contributing to the rigidity of the structure. Colored tissue paper is glued into the spaces created between strings and sticks. Using different colors, patterns are created. The kite has a single stick secured at one end to the axis, and rising at a shallow angle from the plane created by the other sticks…A long, cloth strip tail is fitted to the kite, without which it would be unable to fly.”

Flying Bermuda kites

Kite flying on Good Friday in Bermuda is not just about competition and artistry. It is also a way to bring the community together and celebrate Bermudian culture.

In recent years, the tradition of kite flying on Good Friday in Bermuda has faced some challenges. The rise of technology and video games has made it harder to attract younger generations to the tradition. Additionally, changes in weather patterns have made it more difficult to predict the wind conditions necessary for kite flying.

Nevertheless, a die-hard group still heads to the beaches each Good Friday to keep up the tradition, making for a beautiful holiday spectacle.

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Source: “Bermudian Traditions for Easter Weekend” — Bermuda Tourism

WTF Fun Fact 13271 – A Day with No News

On Good Friday in 1930, the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) made an unusual announcement during their regular news broadcast. After the news anchor said, “Good evening, listeners. Today is Good Friday. There is no news,” the program went silent for several seconds before a pianist named Victor Hely-Hutchinson began playing light classical music.

On Good Friday in 1930, the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) made an unusual announcement during their regular news broadcast. The anchor said, “Good evening, listeners. Today is Good Friday. There is no news.” Then, the program went silent for several seconds before playing 15 minutes of classical piano music.

A Good Friday with no news

This peculiar event, which has since become known as the “BBC piano interlude,” was a reflection of the slow news day that Good Friday typically is. In the UK, Good Friday is a public holiday, and many people take the day off work. As a result, there is often little happening in the news. In the absence of any news to report, the BBC turned to music to fill the airwaves.

For three hours, the soothing sounds of classical piano music filled homes and radios across the country. Despite the initial confusion and disappointment from some listeners, the BBC piano interlude became a beloved tradition in the UK.

In fact, it became so popular that it continued every year until the outbreak of World War II in 1939, which brought a halt to the broadcasts. Today, the BBC piano interlude is remembered as a charming and quirky moment in broadcasting history. It is a testament to the ingenuity and adaptability of early radio broadcasters, who were able to turn a potentially boring day into something memorable and enjoyable for their listeners.

A waste of time?

The stunt was not well-received by some listeners, who criticized the BBC for wasting airtime and failing to take their obligation to inform the public seriously. In a time before television and the internet, radio was a major source of information and entertainment. Listeners may have been expecting to hear the latest news and updates on Good Friday, only to be surprised by the lack of news and the soothing piano music instead.

However, many appreciated the gesture and praised the BBC for its sense of humor.

Despite the mixed reactions, the BBC continued to play music on public holidays. They even began broadcasting an entire program of light classical music on Sundays. This became known as their “Sunday Concerts.” This tradition lasted for several decades.

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Source: “‘There is no news’: What a change from 1930 to today” — BBC