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.