As the night curfew imposed in Egypt in March to slow the spread of the coronavirus emptied the once bustling streets of Cairo and the Mediterranean city of Alexandria the skies of the Arab country began to fill with thousands of kites.
Especially in the evenings these kites formed a picturesque mosaic alien to the restrictions on land.
Although it is an entertainment with a long tradition in Egypt this year’s kite season, which kicks off in the spring, gained special popularity.
With schools closed and sports clubs and other public spaces shut down for months, many found in kites a symbolic escape route from the loneliness, boredom and headaches that the virus has brought to most homes in the world. country.
“The golden age of kites was the 1990s and the first half of the 2000s, before the Internet became popular, especially among the middle and lower classes who did not have the means for other entertainment,” recalls Atef Badr, an engineer 38-year-old from Cairo with a long experience in the world of kites.
The pastime then entered a phase of decline, Badr says, “until the arrival of the pandemic,” which again helped popularize it “as a pleasant way after depriving other forms of entertainment.”
Despite being isolated accidents, some deputies demanded measures to face the danger that this pastime represents in their eyes.
In a matter of days, the police came to requisition and destroy more than 1,500 kites in Cairo alone, and about 300 in Alexandria, as reported by the Arab BBC at the time.