Kite flying tradition fizzles in Guyana

Mariarha Causway, holding a Guyana flag kite with her six-year-old daughter Jada on Easter Monday in Guyana.
Photo by Tangerine Clarke

Monday, April 6 was yet another beautiful sunny day for Guyanese to celebrate Easter Monday with the centuries-old tradition of kite flying.

Thousands turned out and watched as their “Singing Engine,” “Star Point,” “Pointer Tips,” “Bird Kite” or “Heart Kite,” soared against the wind over the popular Sea Wall area.

This year, however, most of the nationals packed the National Park, and sports grounds, instead, due to high tide, and what was seen as beach erosion that kept kite flyers from populating the stretch of the brown sandy beach from where they usually hoist their kites. The ocean wind keeps the colorful flyers up high for a picturesque view.

The nationals, never the less, had an enjoyable time. The smell of multicultural foods permeated the atmosphere, as music blared, and many who traveled from across the globe to be a part of this nostalgic custom, mixed and mingled to catch-up on old times.

The celebrants were seen embracing each other and shaking hands, during the truly enjoyable day that they have commemorated as a part of their culture, and the holy season of Easter.

But according to Mariarha Causway, poet and manager of the Theatre Guild Playhousse in Georgetown, the tradition of kite flying is being lost on today’s youth due to the many distractions that consume their daily life.

Things such as modern technology is taking the place of family tradition, said Causway, an Afro-Guyanese who traces part of her ancestry to the indigenous Amerindian culture.

As a practicing catholic, Causeway said she celebrates the life of Christ and the fact that he died and was resurrected, and draws parallels between Easter Monday and kite flying, saying Easter Monday is much more significant than flying a colorful kite.

“The kites celebrate the rising of Christ and him being a part of us, and being present in our lives,” she added.

Many Guyanese traditions, such as Que Que, (a ceremony before a wedding) she said is being lost because Guyana is a now a country of young people who would prefer to skip kite flying and being in the sunshine, and instead go to a cool creek, to play with their electronic toys.

“This is why my six-year old daughter, Jada is here with me today,” she said, adding, “I am encouraging her, like I did her two older brothers, to carry on the tradition of kite flying.”

“We must remind our children about the way we grew-up. We don’t need all of this ‘stuff’ from the West, we must instill in them the significance of tradition,” said Causway.

“The skyline used to be decorated with colorful kites. I am disappointed we are no longer seeing the type of kite flying we were accustomed to growing up. Our sports, our arts, everything is going Westward, we are loosing the meaning of family, and the value of a name,” she said

“We have to find a way to bring back family, bring back fun, and bring back tradition,” said Causway.

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