Home » Childhood memories of Easter » Childhood Memories of Easter in Guyana

Childhood Memories of Easter in Guyana

In Guyana, we fly kites at Easter and that is the ONLY time you will see folks flying kites.

When I was growing up, Easter was a very special time for us in Guyana. On Easter Sunday, many families went to church and afterward, they took to the fields, sea-wall, or any other wide open space to fly their kites.

The day after Easter is called Easter Monday; it is a National holiday and the entire country, regardless of religion, celebrate this holiday with kite-flying, picnics, dancing, boat races, carnival type events, etc. On Easter Monday, the sky is dotted with hundreds and hundreds of colorful, singing kites. Often, families spent the entire day out enjoying the festivities.

For many Guyanese, the kite making activity began weeks before Easter. My brothers and my father worked tirelessly on making the finest kites for us. They made the kites from wooden frames which had to be the perfect weight. If the frame was too heavy, the kite didn’t “go up”. They used brown paper (the paper we use in the US to wrap packages for mailing comes to mind) to cover the frame and then decorated this brown paper with colored tissue paper cut into fancy designs. Many people also made the entire kite from colored tissue paper.

I recall that the tail of the kite and the flap, or “bull” at the top were the most important parts. The tail was made out of thin rope and decorated with pieces of colored cloth. If the tail was too heavy, the kite struggled to go up. If it was too long, the kite stayed in one place in the sky. If it was too short, it moved about in a rather feisty manner (zigzag). You had to get the tail just right! The flap was the thing that made the kite “buzz or sing” in the wind. Unfortunately, I don’t know much about the flap.

How did my brothers and father glue the paper to the kite’s frame? They used a simple paste made from water and flour. They also used a type of cherry called “gamma cherry”. This inedible cherry was nature’s glue.

Our kites also had frills/fringes on the side made of thin strips of tissue paper. These frills added beauty and color!

As I write this post, I can see myself standing in the cemetery, holding a kite about 30 feet away from my brother who held the ball of polythene string in his hand. I have the kite close to my chest and at his call, I raise it over my head and let it go. He takes off running, letting out the string at the same time to allow my kite to “raise”. I then run after him and he gives me the string to hold. I feel the tug of the string as the wind pulls on my kite. I watch my kite dancing in the sky, singing and buzzing in the afternoon breeze and my heart swells with happiness because I have the perfect kite.

Note: We often flew our kites in the cemetery because there were no electric wires there.

For Guyanese, kite flying symbolizes the resurrection of Christ.

Photo Credit: Google images

Credit: Google images

Credit: Google images

seawall

Sea-wall

brown paper kite

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17 thoughts on “Childhood Memories of Easter in Guyana

  1. I’ve never made a kite. I think I might have flown one as a kid, but I don’t really remember that either. Now I want to both make and fly one!

  2. I wish to fly that kite with you today. This is a beautiful Guyanese tradition. Something all that have Christ in their lives must do all over the world. Easter Sunday is a much celebrated event in the world as we join in welcoming Christ resurrection within each one of us, and the Monday Easter kite flying symbolizes that we all are ready and willing to fly high with Christ wherever he wants us to go. This simply took my breathe away, “As I write this post, I can see myself standing in the cemetery, holding a kite about 30 feet away from my brother who held the ball of polythene string in his hand. I have the kite close to my chest and at his call, I raise it over my head and let it go. He takes off running, letting out the string at the same time to allow my kite to “raise”. I then run after him and he gives me the string to hold. I feel the tug of the string as the wind pulls on my kite. I watch my kite dancing in the sky, singing and buzzing in the afternoon breeze and my heart swells with happiness because I have the perfect kite.” God love and light shines bright in your post my friend. God bless and best of blessings to your family.

  3. As a little girl, I loved to see pretty kites flying above. I always had plastic ones. I hope you still have one tucked away somewhere.

    • Unfortunately, I don’t have any kites tucked away. Years ago, my husband made a frame for our kids, but was as far as he got:) He made the frame out of vein (don’t know the correct word) of the branch of our coconut tree.ni think I still have it in a “safe” place. 🙂 I forgot to say in my post that we made smaller kites with this particular frame and we mostly used tissue paper. We also didn’t say tissue paper, we called it “kite paper”. To this day, many older folks refer to tissue paper decorations as kite paper decorations.

      I think you will still enjoy seeing pretty kites in the sky, KB.

  4. That would be so much fun. It’s still a little cool here for some people to enjoy an outting like this. I, on the other hand, prefer the cooler weather so kites would be fun today.

  5. What a lovely “high flying” tradition with the kites, Elaine. Today was a sunny, very warm and windy Easter Sunday in Colorado Springs, and the parks were filled with kite fliers. It was wonderful, watching children and adults run with the kites, and hearing young children laughing, clapping their hands and reaching for the sky when the kites took off.

  6. That’s such a cool tradition, thanks for sharing those memories with us Elaine. I used to love flying a kite. It’s also pretty interesting to think about gluing things together with natural material and not a bottle of something from the hardware store. Happy Easter.

    • Hi Jill, Happy Easter to you too!
      hardly any kite flying at Easter for me here in the USA. Several years ago, I attended an Easter picnic hosted by a Guyanese organization and there were a few kites.

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