Fly Kites in Beijing This Spring2016-03-08 11:05:30Share:
Kite has a long history in China. According to ancient Chinese literature, kite flying is grouped as one of the seasonal customs. People will know spring is coming as long as they see the various kites flying up in the sky, no matter that the spring comes earlier or later than usual.
It's a tradition to cut the string no matter how high or far away the kite is flying; it signifies that bad luck is entirely gone with the wind. Therefore, the elderly, knowing the custom well, never pick up such kites back home.
The kite favored by old Beijingers is commonly called "heiguodi (black pan bottom)", which is in fact the sand-martin. A kite with such pattern is often painted on a black ground. The black and white colors make the kite especially attractive as it is flying against the blue sky. Besides, it is said that the sand-martin kite has been passed on from generation to generation because of the heroic deeds of Cao Xueqin, the author of Dream of the Red Chamber in the Qing Dynasty. In order to help the poor, Cao intended to teach them how to make kites so that they could make a living on that. He was inspired to work out a simple and pellucid guide book with illustrative plates, based on which he taught the folks the knowledge of kite making. Thereafter, all those poor residents living at the foot of the Fragrance Hill (a park in Haidian District, Beijing) were able to make kites.
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