C'est la Chine · Bangladesh | Bonded by kite string: Three generations of Bengalis strive to promote Chinese kite craft
Every April, the Weifang International Kite Festival is held in Weifang, Shandong, known as the kite capital of the world, where kite masters from across the globe gather to fly kites of various shapes in the air. Al Mamun Mridha, Acting Secretary General of the Bangladesh Kite Federation, which is dedicated to promoting kite culture in Bangladesh, told us that they have been actively participating in the Weifang International Kite Festival for the past 15 years and have won a championship and two runner-up prizes in the event.
Mridha's passion for kites began with an "amazing experience" almost 20 years ago, when he came to Beijing with his father around 2003-2004 and lived near Tiananmen Square. "One day we saw an eagle flying in the sky, and after half an hour, it was still in the same place. How can an eagle stay in the same place for half an hour?"
With this question in mind, they went over to Tiananmen Square where for the first time Mridha saw someone flying a kite. "It was a really great sight," he said.
They bought kites from China and brought them back to Bangladesh. "Wherever we went, as soon as we started flying kites, people would come to watch and wonder what it was all about."
In 2008, Mridha and his father founded the Bangladesh Kite Federation and set up branches all over the country. Mridha proudly told us that they have now designed hundreds of kites, mostly by his father, and that Bangladesh also holds its own national kite festival every year, which has become one of the country's most attractive and colorful events.
Mridha said that generations of his family have been dedicated to the promotion of kite culture, especially among young people, so that they can appreciate the delicate art of traditional Chinese kite craft.
"China has become Bangladesh's largest trading partner, and one of our most important friends. We can share more of our culture and better develop bilateral trade," he added.