Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Kite Flying in Cambodia

If you are in Cambodia during late November look into the bright blue skies above you and you'll no doubt encounter the Khmer obsession with kite flying, as that month signifies the start of the kite season, which lasts until March. Its a much revered past-time, has its roots in ancient Cambodian history, was always supported by the Royal Family and has its own festival (usually in November and a month after the water-festival). The Kite Museum in the capital houses many examples of Khmer kites at its headquarters opposite the Buddhist Institute in Phnom Penh. The major figure in the return of kiting as not only a sport but also an important symbol of Cambodian cultural identity is Sim Sarak, a director general of the Cambodian Ministry of Culture and Arts. Sim was an enthusiastic flier as a boy and never forgot this early fascination. He's also written a book, alongwith his wife, on Khmer Kites which you can read on-line here.

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