»Wau Bulan« – the moon-kite of Malaysia

wau-bulan_198x198As already mentioned before, the Moon assumes a special status in Asia as well. There are a few important festivals, which are closely connected to the Moon, like for example the Moon Festival and the Lantern Festival in China, or many celebrations in Buddhism and Hinduism.

In Malaysia, in South East Asia, there is a traditional kite called  »wau bulan«, whereas »wau« stands for kite and »bulan« for the Moon. The kite got its name because of its moon crescent-shaped lower part. When you fly this kite, it supposed to remind of the rising Moon.

The sail is made of rice paper, which is decorated with colorful and often flowery patterns. For the frame of the kite, split bamboo is used that has been pre-soaked in mud to make the wood more flexible. A »wau bulan« is considerably larger with a width of 8.2 feet and 11.4 feet in length, compared to kites in the west; thus, it is visible from afar and can be recognized as a sign in the sky – like the Moon.

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The moon-kite has national significance in Malaysia. It can be found on the one ringgit banknote (which therefore joins the gallery of other moon banknotes) and also on the back of the Malaysian 50 cent coin. The Malaysian airline Malaysia Airline, uses geometric elements of the moon-kite in its logo.

Although the western cultures perceive the Moon mostly as feminine, in Malaysia it is tradition that the wau bulan can only be flown by men. This shows again that the Moon can symbolize feminine as much as masculine aspects.

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