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Kite Making: An Old Tradition Resisting Time (video)

Kite flying this coming Monday is a tradition in Greece.  After the last Sunday of the Carnival, begins the Sarakosti, or Lent, which means 40 days of fasting until Easter. The first day of the Lent, always a Monday, is called Clean Monday, or Koulouma, and everyone celebrates it with tables laid with seafood, lettuce and other types of salads, olives, halva and taramosalata, and the special bread called lagana which bakers make only on that day.
Kite flying is also tradition celebrated on that day in Greece. In his traditional workshop, situated on Sykies, Kostis Karanikolas has been making paper and plastic kites for over 30 years. Mr. Karanikolas continues this tradition that has only slightly changed over years. “The older ones remember making the kite with stubbles. You had to cut the stubble with the paring knife without breaking it and without cutting it unevenly close to the knots. Nowadays, this procedure has been replaced with the laths. I use white ones which are elastic, durable, and also have the perfect weight to make the kite completely functional”, explains Mr. Karanikolas. The kite making has its own secrets, even if the materials remain the same.
A light wooden frame, cords on the balances and on the tail of the kite and a paper body. Today, kite-makers prefer the plastic kite but the municipalities and the unions insist “ecologically” on choosing the paper one. The consumer’s demand for kites may be affected by the bad weather of the last week of the Carnival. Despite the crisis, kites remain cheap (about 2 or 3 Euros) and everyone, older or younger can buy one and enjoy the fun of flying a kite.

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