Paddam

Flying musical kite called paddam is one of the main sports in the Peninsula. The best season is from April to August, when there is suitable wind. This also coincides with the period of rest and leisure following intense work in the fields.

Musical kite, which is said to have originated in Aeolis in Asia Minor, comes in many forms and shapes. The bird kite, known as paruntukkodi, is the most popular in Jaffna. It is built on a frame of bam, boo strips. The central piece is called nadurhodi, the two-wing strip ciruthadi, and the tail valthadi. There are two balancing strings called thaimutchai and makal mutchai, which are attached to a ball of a long string. The frame is pasted usually with white and brown colour. The musical components are the bow called vinthadi, which is a “flexible strip of the areca palm equal in length to the Naduthadi”, the bowstring, which is “a strip of palmyrah leaf stalk fixed to the ends of the bow” and a piece of wood called sutakkaddai or sururhikkaddai. The wind carries the kite aloft ” controlled by the string and the resistance of the atmosphere” and the kite “rises up like an angered cobra.” When it goes up ” the wind has free play on the bow string and the vibrations producing a sound quite musical, the resonance alternating with the frequency of the vibration”.”

Those who participate in this sport have to calculate favorable wind velocities so that the kite may soar up and float high. If the winds are good, the kite is left to remain in the sky and is tied with a string to a post. ” The maximum height a kite reaches is judged by the length of the string sent up. Strings are not measured, but estimation is made of the volume of the ball of the string used for each. When the game of competition is over and the kites are hauled down, the balls of string are compared and the man whose roll is the biggest declared the winner.”

Three areas may be mentioned which have been centers of this sport: Point Pedro, Chavakakacheri and Kayts.

Some speculate that this sport, which is also popular in the Malay Peninsula and the Indonesian Islands, “has originated and flourished in the cultural setting of Jaffna and spread over to Malaya and beyond”.

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