Pinghsi Sky Lantern Festival

Pinghsi is located in a remote mountain area in Taipei County. During the rule of the Daoguang Emperor in the Ching Dynasty (1820-1850), settlers came from Fujian Province, the early residents developed the region diligently but were often the victims of robbery or murder because the access to the region was inconvenient at that time. Therefore, after the harvest season, the villagers lugged their belongings to the hills and hide, and before the Lantern Festival, the men would go down the hills to find out the situation in the village. They would send lanterns skyward to signal that all was at peace and beckon other villagers to go home. This brought the custom of launching sky lanterns, which is enriched later by providing an expression of prayers, and people believe that the higher the lanterns go, the more the heaven can hear their prayers.

The activity of launching sky lanterns is held on the night of the Lantern Festival. The sky lantern with the shape looking like a basket is constructed by the body covered with cotton papers, and the frame made from bamboo strips bending into circles and crisscrossed with wires. A wad of spirit money soaked with kerosene is attached to the wire in the middle of the lantern's bottom frame. When the lantern is lit and the air inside the lantern heats up, the lantern begins to rise, and it descends when the spirit money burns out. When groups of lanterns ascend to the dark sky, like countless twinkling stars, the beautiful and peaceful scene kindles people's hopes for the New year.

source : http://edu.ocac.gov.tw/local/web/Eng/about.htm


At 1/09/2006 7:41 PM, Anonymous Pei said...

I have launched sky lanterns before though not in Pinghsi, but still it was an impressive experience.At the moment sky lanterns are rising, it seemed that our wishes writing on them are also seemed hopeful. This activity is really meaningful and interesting, and i hope that someday i can launch sky lanterns again but this time i'll wish for 'world peace'! ^----------^

At 1/10/2006 12:30 AM, Anonymous Dona said...

I had launched sky lanterns in Ping-Xi , but when I launched it , I thought where it will leave , where it will fell, it will be a problem for making garbage?

At 1/11/2006 2:02 PM, Anonymous Pei said...

Ha!Good question!I have heard that some sky lanterns dropped and hurt people after the fire burned out.So now it's forbidden to launch sky lanterns by yourselves.
And where will it go? Maybe drop down on the remote mountains or somewhere. And need not to mention the garbage problem.


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