Day trip | Kuwait

The kite festival in Subiya

Kuwait City locals flood the desert landscape to fly kites of all shapes and sizes on their national day

On a vast desert-like plain stand people holding large colorful figures on strings, including purple and orange horses, a large blue snake, a shark, several octopuses in bright colors.

Kuwaitis celebrate their bank holidays with the so-called kite festival in Subiya

The sky above the desert teems with colourful horses, dolphins, giant crabs and jellyfish, their tentacles flapping in the wind. Superman floats in among them. With flying fantasy heroes and mythical creatures of all shapes and sizes, Kuwaitis celebrate their national day with a kite festival on 25 February. On this date, entire families from Kuwait City flock to the nearby sandy landscape to spend a day at the festival.

The month is one of the few in the year when the desert is cool enough to enjoy its barren beauty. Motorised buggies and motorbikes race through the dunes and snacks are sold in tents and at kiosks. Visitors are particularly fond of American fast food, such as hamburgers and hot dogs. This is no coincidence, because during the Second Gulf War in 1991, Kuwait was liberated by a coalition led by the US army after Iraqi troops had occupied the country.

Since then, everyday life has been full of US imports. However, apart from the burger stalls, the kites remain the main attraction. In my photo, they look a bit like they want to escape the big party. I can understand that. When I was photographing in Kuwait, everything seemed so extreme: the oil wealth, the consumption, the temperatures, the decoupled relationship between people and nature. Everything was larger than life - like the dragons.