By Theresa Goodwin
For the second year in a row, the Covid-19 pandemic has forced organisers of the popular International Kite Flying Festival to forego the extravagant display usually seen at Devil’s Bridge on Easter Monday, in favour of an at-home version.
While it may lack the fanfare, Calvin “Top Cat” Pilgrim of CP Kites says the ‘Tap ah yah yard’ edition of the 15th annual event – which involves flying your kite from the comfort of your own home – will be just as enjoyable.
Pilgrim has teamed up with the Confucius Institute of Antigua and Barbuda in a partnership which, he said, will explore the cultural connection and ancient tradition of kite-flying between China and Antigua and Barbuda.
The Institute is an educational collaboration between the Confucius Institute headquarters in China and the Ministry of Education in Antigua and Barbuda. The aim is increase connections and understanding between people of both nations, by offering Chinese language courses and cultural experiences though workshops, fairs and other activities that require community participation.
Pilgrim told Observer that last year’s ‘Tap ah yah yard’ version of the festival had been successful.
“We had a lot of people submitting videos of them making and flying their kites in their backyard. Those videos are still available for viewing on CP Kites on Facebook,” he explained.
“This year, Covid is still here so we are going to be doing the second edition. We will be asking persons again to build their kite as they did before, send a video of you flying the kite. Through the collaboration with the Confucius Institute this year, there will be some cash prizes, So, start making your kites and get prepared,” Pilgrim said.
Prior to the event, a kite-making workshop will be held to guide residents wishing to participate and to offer an insight into the Chinese tradition of creating a kite.
Videos submitted to CP Kites and the Confucius Institute on Easter Monday will be eligible for prizes.
Categories include best made traditional kite, best flying kite and the people’s choice – the kite that gets the most likes online.
The activity of kite-flying is a Chinese tradition that marks the beginning of spring. It dates back 3,000 years and the kites were made of bamboo and silk.
Antigua and Barbuda’s kite festival, on the other hand, began in 2006 and is traditionally held on Easter Monday. It has grown into a spectacular international family event which saw more than 2,600 people in attendance in 2019.