Sky Lanterns mark the end of Lunar New Year

Houying Sky Lanterns

Sky Lanterns kick off Lantern Festival in the village of Houying, Taiwan.

Traditionally, the 15-day Lunar New Year celebration comes to an end during the Lantern Festival. One of the traditions that can still be seen during the Lantern Festival in Taiwan is the launching of sky lanterns (Kung-ming lanterns or “Tien-Deng” in Mandarin Chinese) into the night sky.

Houying Sky Lanterns 2

Families prepare their sky lanterns with prayers and blessings to send to Heaven.

On Saturday, February 27th in Southern Taiwan, the village of Houying in Tainan County held a sky lantern ceremony. The event is usually held out in the countryside away from populated areas, because the lanterns may fall to earth and start a fire.

Houying Sky Lanterns 3

After lighting the fuel, the lantern begins to float away after about 2 minutes.

Families paid about US$6 to purchase a large paper lantern and decorate it with their New Year’s wishes. They light the fuel underneath the lantern and hold it off the ground until the heat and smoke floats the lantern away.

Houying Sky Lanterns 4

A family launches their sky lantern, which may float for dozens of kilometers.

The Kung-ming sky lantern has decorated the night sky in Chinese culture for 1,800 years. It was surprising to see how high and how far these glowing paper lanterns could float into the black sky. With dozens of orange globes drifting in the sky around the full moon, it was a peaceful and beautiful sight. I shared the experience with many people around me and understood why this part of the culture has been preserved for so long.

Houying Sky Lanterns 5

It is a beautiful, peaceful sight when the night sky is filled with lanterns.

Click here to view this article on CNN iReport.

Check out this Youtube Video:


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s