The word ‘Wau’ was derived from the Arabic letter ‘Wau’ as the shape of the wing resemblances to the outline of the particular letter. It was also said that the farmer in the past used Wau to scarecrow to ward off the birds from their paddy fields. In Malaysia, the most popular of all the Wau’s is ‘Wau Bulan’. It is was certain that the name fits one of the three country’s official kites, where the names takes the after the shape of the moon as the tail of the Wau itself look like to the crescent.
The origin of the ‘Wau Bulan’ was said to exist during the days of the Srivijaya Empire, in which according to the legend, a young prince named Dewa Muda used Wau to mapped out the districts that he already conquered on the Wau, in which he will then display and tell to his people. Before he went to the war, Dewa Muda would meditate to gain his experience spiritual intuitions where he went into the deep of the cave. When he wanted to leave the cave, he frequently appears with the wire frame that was believed to be the wire frame of a ‘Wau Bulan’. The patterns of the flowers and leaves on the Wau were said to represent the districts that he already conquered. Thus, whenever he went from the battle, the patterns (flowers and leaf) on his Wau will continuously to ‘grow’, symbolising how strong his empire at that moment. The fabled beliefs claim that the Dewa Muda had a spiritual link to his Wau. Some people also believed that he obtained extraordinary spiritual advice by flying up to the heavens on his ‘Wau Bulan’ and developed the spiritual relationships with the inhabitants of another world.
- Characteristics of Wau
Compared to the traditional size of Wau bulan, the other kites is quite small. It was measures 2.5 meters wide and 3.5 meters long. Thus, there are lots of spaces that can be used for the decorations for the kite. The typical colour for the kites usually strong coloured patterns or bright colours to make it looks more extraordinary. As for the designs, Wau Bulan usually differs of the floral drawings with the thick lines to ensure that the kite can really go far from the other kites that fly with it. Also, with this Wau Bulan, it has a stringed bow that was attached to it. This will produce a very soft wailing tone when it was flown away in the sky.
- Types of Wau
Today, there are many types of Wau and the most widely known is Wau Kikik which is Malay kites. It is the simple tailless kite that was shape as the diamond. Besides, there are many other widely known Wau that was available such as Wau Bulan (Moon Kite), Wau Kucing Kite), and Wau Jalabudi (Women Kite). These types of Wau are considered as the National Kites and it was made as the main item in the national kite competitions. While Wau Daun (Leaf Kite) was made as an optional in the competitions.