The Daily Roar

Kite tradition

In Thailand, kite flying is not just a casual attempt to see how high it can be made to soar into the sky. It is an ancient sport dignified by rules and regulations and a heritage involving everyone from kings to commoners.

Before the inauguration of competitions as we know them today, the Thais were flying cargo-laden kites over their golden cities. In the late 17th century, King Petraja used kites for what was probably the first aerial bombing in history. When the principality of Nakhon Ratchasima (Korat) rebelled, King Petraja tied kegs of gunpowder to kites, lifted them over the rebel stronghold and blasted the miscreants into capitulation.

Kite flying as a sport has been popular since the reign of King Ramkamhaeng of the Sukhothai period, some seven hundred years ago. The kings of Sukhothai loved kite flying so much that the sport played an important role in Thai literature of that period. The craze for kite flying reached such heights in the new Thai capital of Ayutthaya that in 1358 a Palace Decree was issued stipulating that kites were not to be flown in the vicinity of the palace.

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