• I don’t often write about kitemaking per se for Discourse, but I’m going to take the opportunity in order to talk about inspiration, mentors, and kite heritage.
  • A hobby and sport in the West and a religious celebration in the East, kiting became international in the last two decades through increased global travel and because the internet made verbal connections fast and easy. Intelligent patronage by the Drachen Foundation helped these developments significantly.
  • Dedicated to commemorating deceased ancestors who are perceived as still active in daily life, the Day of the Dead or All Saints Day is celebrated across Latin America on November 1st . For centuries , rura l communities throughout the highlands of Guatemala have celebrated with festivals featuring kites that carry messages to ancestors. The largest of these kite festivals occur in two communities near Guatemala City, Santiago Sacatepequez and Sumpango.
  • Big projects start in small ways, and so it was with this fall’s Dia de los Muertos (Day of the Dead) celebration in Oaxaca, Mexico. Almost two years ago, former Drachen Foundation employee Melissa McKelvey dashed through Seattle – to and from Mexico – and in her wake she left a Mexican kite, crudely framed and bridled, but with beautiful graphic treatment.
  • My brain is a little bit fried right now after talking with Melanie, who is here in Guatemala writing her dissertation. The woman knows everything there is to know about Guatemalan politics. She talked and talked, and as she talked, she made me realize how much of a beginner I am. I feel like I am just scratching the surface of a very deep and bloody history.
  • “Some of the best kites you’ll ever see,” says Scott Skinner, president of the Drachen Foundation. “It’s like Hamamatsu in Japan, a huge community kiteflying effort. Unique.” “One of the seven wonders of the kiting world,” says Ali Fujino, director of the Foundation. “The festival, mixing Indian and Catholic cultural traditions, is both fascinating and cute.”
  • The giant kites of Guatemala——barriletes gigantes, as they are called in Spanish—are amazing when viewed either in flight or up close. Up to 40 feet across, the circular kites are flown on the Day of the Dead—the lst of November—in just two Mayan Indian villages near the capital, Guatemala City. Why there and nowhere else, no one is able to say, since credible historical documentation is in short supply, although this ritual kite flying is clearly a very old tradition.