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A Chickichong is a small round or rectangular kite usually made from paper with a paper tail. It is not to be confused with it’s a larger sibling, the Mad Bull.
In Trinidad & Tobago, the word chickichong is used as a noun to describe both a small bird and a small kite typically flown by children of elementary school age.
Chickichong, Chickeechong (n) –
- Bird: A small songbird also known as a bullfinch or large red-bellied finch. The bird is about five inches long, mostly black with a brown belly and a short thick beak, its song ‘a fairly long, musical series of clear whistled notes’.
- Kite: In addition to the paper and wood kites, there are the all-paper kits, known as chickichong and the corbeau kites. They are made and flown mostly by elementary school-age children since all you need to make them is a piece of paper (usually the size of a school exercise-copy book) and thread. The kite is named after the bird because of its small stature.
Chickichong – Caribbean Usage
Chickichong is a popular name mostly in Trinidad & Tobago and is not used widely on other islands. The Chickichong kites only ascend a few feet when the wind is strong or when the flyers ran while holding high the thread connected to it. (Cummings 204:107)
The various words and phrases from Trinidad & Tobago can be traced back to English, French and Spanish origins. Kicksing is one such word that has its roots in the English language. Growing up in Trinidad and Tobago is interesting because the slangs can change over time. I have lived in the United States for 20 years now, and every time I travel back to Trinidad and Tobago, I have to reacquaint myself with the words and phrases that have evolved.
Trini folklore such as Papa Bois is an oral tradition meant to pass on the next generation’s stories. Other Trini phrases in the vernacular are Bus Bamboo, Douen, Mother Giver and Reds.
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