Soaring with the Wau Some say that the word ‘wau’ originated from the Arabic letter

‘wau’, as the form of its wings looks like the shape of the letter. There are many legends and tales associated with the origins of the wau. The Farmer’s Friend One of them revolves around how farmers used it to represent a flying scarecrow in order to fend off birds from the paddy fields – a rather effective method to avoid harvested paddy from falling victim to the winged creatures.

The wau was used to scare off birds from the paddy fields It was also said that the sounds made by the ‘wau’ when it is up on the sky is an excellent lullaby for the farmers’ children –the melody helps restless kids catch forty winks while the farmers could go about their tasks uninterrupted. . There are many types of ‘wau’, including Wau Bulan, Wau Jalabudi, Wau Kucing and Wau Merak, among others, with Wau Bulan being the most famous.


The story goes like this. Dewa Muda would meditate in a cave in order to gain some spiritual insights. Before he went to war. symbolising Dewa Muda’s efforts to reunify the empire. The designs kept on ‘growing’. KELANTAN. MALAYSIA . All’to epitomise on his grandness and magical prowess There are those who believe that he had obtained extraordinary spiritual advice by flying up to the heavens on his “Wau Bulan” – and developed a relationship with the inhabitants of the celestial world. Wau Bulan . after his return from a battle. and then go off to war.the most `stable' of all waus COURTESY OF SK HAMZAH. The fable is spiced with the assertion that Dewa Muda had a spiritual link to his ‘Wau. Wau Bulan could then be said to derive its name from its tail which resembles that of a crescent – as the medium of transportation for Dewa Muda to ascend to the heavens.The Prince’s Wau Legend has it that Wau Bulan is the brainchild of the Sri Wijaya Empire. symbolising the strength of his empire. which he then displayed to his people. MACHANG. much to the pride and delight of his people. The young prince was said to use the ‘wau’ as a canvas to map out the conquered districts using fine patterns and flowers. He would then exit the cave with a basic “structure” of Wau Bulan.

Seen from the back. the shape of a woman’s body inspired the basic shape and design of “Wau Jala Budi”. but for the sound as well – as any wau enthusiasts attest to. KELANTAN. as it has a big hummer-like material. towards the waist and bottom. “Wau Bulan” is commonly flown around the East Coast of Malaysia during festivals or special occasions. It is well-known for being easily handled and has the reputation of being most stable kite amongst the others. Wau Jala Budi's design is based on the shape of a woman's figure As with many other pretty things. As the structure of the wau’s tail looks like a ‘jala’ (net). COURTESY OF SK HAMZAH. it is therefore called “Wau Jala Budi”.”Wau Bulan” has indeed received much acclaim among kite lovers. producing a vibrating element. The name came about from a leaf found in Kedah called the ‘budi’ leaf. MACHANG. For example. it resembles the extended hands of a woman followed by the figure. MALAYSIA . Today. as the tail of the wau is similar to the shape. “Wau Jalabudi” tends to produce a coarse sound. beauty and appearance. How to Judge a Wau A ‘Wau’ is rather ‘judged’ and named not only by its performance.

“Wau Kapal”. the most significant ‘wau’ flown up high in the skies. “Wau Puyuh”. runs from the 15th to the 19th of February 2012. “Wau Seri Bulan”. MALAYSIA . proudly displayed on its airplanes. and predict the following day’s weather. Not surprising owing to the fact that the wau had a strong royal connection. Wau Merak. emits a ‘melodious’.like a cat’s mew. “Wau Kikik”. which is the Malaysia Airlines System’s corporate logo. At present. the design consists of a “balong” (fowl’s crest) and the elaborate tail –the length of which is four times the size of its body. and “Wau Seri Negeri”. Among the other types of Wau are the “Wau Dodo Helang”. “Wau Daun”. is the “Wau Kucing”. “Wau Merak”. “Wau Kebayak”. The festival which is the focal point for almost 860 participants from all over the world. flying it was a royal privilege in the olden days. Kites Galore at the Pasir Gudang World Kite Festival With the theme 1Langit 1Budaya (1Sky 1 Culture). The hummer can let out seven different melodies or tunes – made possible as it is usually played in the relative silence of the night. on the other hand.Wau Variety “Wau Kucing”. The Royal Connection To get up close and personal with a wide variety wau head over to the 17th Pasir Gudang World Kite Festival. It is believed the hummer was used to scare away evil spirits. MACHANG. KELANTAN. COURTESY OF SK HAMZAH. Taking the shape of a peacock. “Wau Kangkang”. Fancy a clean fight without shedding blood or tears? Then “Wau Laga” is the perfect kite to pitch against an opponent’s. high-pitched sound . the festival is set to revive the glory days of the wau and kites in general. Indonesia. believed to have originated from Sulawesi. The aim is to break the rival’s string and strive to bring his kite down to the ground. used to be flown mainly by the Bugis after the paddy harvest season. “Wau Helang”.

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