In March and April as the winds pick up in the Dominican Republic it is traditional to fly “chiciguas” or kites as we call them. There are many translations for kites in Spanish. I have been to the Dominican Republic many times, but don’t recall kites being flown. During the cuarantena (the lockdown) due to the virus, flying chiciguas has gone wild. Curfew hits (5pm) and the skies begin to fill. At one point I counted 15 in the limited view above our apartment. All the neighbors watch and comment and children run the small passageways chasing their flights.
Much goes into this. As you make your way around town during the heat of the day, vendors sit with their chiciguas for sale on street corners and street medians. Most of these chichiguas are handmade from sticks, plastic bags and paper. As you pass by houses, alleys and small outside areas you will see the building in action. All ages are involved in the construction and flying. Large groups of young men gather and fly them from ideal locations on hills or building tops. In our neighborhood the boys scale apartments or get on their own roofs to be part of the spectacle. You will hear shouting back and forth as some inevitably meet their end in the trees. Some fly so high you can almost not see them.
Somewhat comically, in the first days of the curfew, the police were trying to keep people from flying their kites.
Chichiguas make for a great community event.