Chinese flying lanterns are also known as Kongming lanterns and have been in use in China for centuries.
They are frequently used to mark events or celebrations. The Chinese lanterns are made of rice paper or silk. They act as a hot air balloon when a small fuel source is lit. Once the heat fills the lanterns
Asian festivals release these lanterns that result in a stunning light show when done in large numbers.
History of Chinese Flying Lanterns
Legend has it that these lanterns that fly were invented by a Chinese General, during the Three Kingdom period from 220 AD-280 AD. According to the legend, he launched the lights that slowly lifted in a night battle that scared his enemy and drove them away.
What Do Chinese Flying Lanterns Mean
Aside from their legendary military purpose, Chinese flying lanterns are symbolic of several meanings across differing cultures.
Some believe them to be symbolic with the release of their worries and burdens. Others use them as instruments for sending their wishes towards the spirits in heaven.
The more western uses are for sending wishes on events such as:
- Special Anniversaries
- New Year’s and other holidays
- College Graduations
- or other events worth remembering.
How to Make Chinese Flying Lanterns
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Clear your event through local law enforcement and fire departments to ensure you are not violating any local ordinances, such as burn bans.
Choose a launch date that will have good clear weather free from any strong wind or rain. Chinese flying lanterns are meant to gently lift into the sky. Maybe the word launch was a bit strong here, it’s more like a release.
Choose an obstruction free area to launch, usually large field or park free from trees, power lines, buildings, or other obstructions.
Prior to lighting the fuel source, ensure that your flying lantern is full of air preventing any material from contacting the flame.
Light the flame. When you begin to feel a slight lift or tug of the lantern release it and enjoy the show.
Are Chinese Flying Lanterns Safe
Generally they are safe, if released into the air in an open area. This gives flying lanterns a chance to rise above everything that would burn while the flame is still lit.
During flight, the flames will extinguish prior to falling back to the earth. Once these biodegradable flying lanterns land, the rice paper and cotton makeup will erode over time naturally, without disturbing the environment.