This article was first published on the 21st of April, 2019 by Patrick Carpen.Last updated: April 6, 2021 at 14:31 pm
Kite flying is an annual tradition in the country of Guyana, South America. Kite flying activities are held every year during the Easter Holidays. The Easter Holidays in Guyana starts on Good Friday and ends on Easter Sunday. Good Friday is a national holiday in Guyana held in observance of the Crucifixion of Jesus Christ whom Christians regard as the Savior of the World.
Christianity is the largest religious group in Guyana with Christians making up about 57% of the Guyanese population. The fact that Guyana was colonized by European Christians contribute to Guyana’s large Christian population. The other other major religious groups in Guyana are Hindus and Muslims.
Good Friday is a national holiday on which schools, businesses, and banks close. Easter is officially the Sunday following Good Friday. However, since Sunday is already a non-working day, the following Monday is given on a day off from work, businesses, and schools. The Easter Weekend then is a long weekend which starts on Friday and ends on Monday.
Kite flying in Guyana usually starts weeks or even months prior to the actual Easter holiday. Kids especially are eager to put their beautiful masterpieces in the air. However, the vast majority of kite flying activities take place on Easter Sunday and Monday.
On Easter Sunday and Monday, hundreds of families spend the entire day raising kites into the air. They often walk with food supplies to the beaches, savannas etc to spend the day flying kites. It’s a fun day for family and the whole family. The people of Guyana are skilled in creating all kinds of kites: board kites, broom kites, bird kites, box kites, man kites, woman kites etc. There are also plastic kites that are imported and sold by the stores. There is often a friendly competition to see whose kites “sing” and “swap” best of all.
Symbolizing the Ascension
In Guyana, the tradition of kite flying is used to symbolize the ascension of Jesus into His heavenly home. Did you know that Guyana, South America is, perhaps, the only country in the world which celebrates the resurrection of Jesus by flying kites? That’s right! The raising of kites into the skies on Easter Sunday is done in Guyana to symbolize Jesus‘ ascension into heaven.
In other countries around the world, people fly kites too, but, according to research, no other country has the tradition of flying kites on Easter Sunday to celebrate the resurrection of Jesus. And I guess that’s one thing that makes Guyana special.
In other countries, kite flying has evolved through military exercises, sports, etc, but not for the celebration of the Resurrection. Amazingly, not even England, the country that once colonized and Christianized Guyana, practices this tradition!
So how did the idea of raising kites for Jesus reach Guyana? I’m not sure! One history article explained that, during colonial times, the Chinese were in the habit of flying kites during the Easter season. The British colonial rulers insisted that they should be in church instead. Cunningly, the Chinese invented the story that raising the kites into the air symbolizes the ascension of Jesus. The culture of flying kites to symbolize the ascension may have since migrated to other Caribbean countries. I’m not sure how true this story is.
Now enjoy these beautiful photos of kite flying taken in Georgetown, Guyana, South America during the Easter of 2019.