The Weifang International Kite Festival is an annual event held from April 20th to 25th in Weifang, in East China’s Shandong Province. It has been held for 29 sessions continuously from 1984 until now, attracting large number of kite experts, kite-lovers and tourists from home and abroad to the occasion for kite appreciation, kite-flying competition and sightseeing. The 30th Weifang International Kite Festival will be held from April 20th to April 23rd, 2013.
Kites were once called “Zhi Yuan” in North China and “Yao Zi” in South China. The Chinese name for kite is “Feng Zheng”. With a whistle made of bamboo attached to the upper part of the kite, a “Zheng” sound is let out when the kite is flying. Hence the name. Kites came into existence in China as means of amusement probably in the Tang Dynasty. Later, due to the invention of paper, making kites cost less, thus made it possible to spread quickly among the ordinary people.
Weifang is known as the “Kite Capital of the World” and the headquarters of the International Kite Federation is found in the Kite Museum here. Weifang kite has a long history and is characterized by fine workmanship, exquisite design, easy to take off and steady gliding. It shows a perfect combination of exquisite split bamboo stick craft and traditional Chinese painting, with a huge variety of folk kites from animals, birds, insects to goddesses and ancient heroes. Featuring intense colors, the kites can also be used as decoration.
The kite festival offers an exposition of kite arts and crafts, as well as various activities including the Grand Opening Ceremony, International Kite-flying Championship, Domestic Kite-flying Competition, Ten-thousand people Kite-flying Performance, exhibition of traditional lanterns and fireworks display, etc.
The most exciting programs are international and domestic kite-flying contests, in which kite enthusiasts from home and abroad show their technology in front of the hundreds of spectators to compete for the title of “Kite King”. There are kites of all shapes and sizes, ranging from traditional kites to modern kites, from big kites to small kites. You will see phoenix flying highly, colorful butterflies dancing up and down and cloud dragon shuttling in the sky, and many kites of figure models in Chinese mythology stories.
After the competition, the 10 best kites will be selected and exhibited in “the Weifang Kite Museum”, the biggest kite museum in the world at present, where the masterpieces of kites collected from all the previous Weifang International Kite Festivals are being exhibited. The museum boasts the collection of a great variety of the excellent kite works, with wide range of subjects, exquisite handicraft, and different shapes and styles.
Afte the festival, you can also visit local villages to get to know about the folk customs of Shandong, which shall be very interesting and something special for you. In Yangjiabu village, you can watch the entire process of kite-making in the workshops of the special folk courtyard house of Ming and Qing Dynasties. In Shijiazhuang village, you can enjoy the performance of the local traditional wedding ceremony, with the chance of experiencing the fascinating ancient wedding ceremony of riding the decorated sedan chair, bowing to heaven and earth, drinking wedlock wine and entering the bridal chamber. The visit to the Folklore Museum of Shijiazhuang village allows you to have a better understanding of the folk customs of the middle part of Shandong province over the past century. You can experience the farm life to the heart content by eating farmer’s food, staying in farmer’s home, and doing farm work.
At last, let’s enjoy some photos of the beautiful kites together.