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All You Need to Know About Chinese Lanterns

Aparna Jadhav Feb 9, 2019
Chinese lanterns are a part of the big New Year festival celebrations in China. Take a look at some information about these lanterns.
The Chinese Lantern Festival is also known as the Yuan-Xiao Festival in China. It is celebrated on the 15th day of the first lunar month. This is because, it is the first night of the Chinese New Year when the full moon can be seen, and it is considered to be the final festival of the New Year celebrations.
During this festival, millions of beautifully colored and designed lanterns are made and hung all around the houses and streets. These lanterns, also called the sky lanterns, are a great creation of Chinese art and look radiant in the night.
It is commonly believed that the Chinese people make and light these lanterns to appreciate the appearance of the first full moon of the year. Hence, no matter where in the world they are, they still make beautiful lanterns and hang them outside their homes, to celebrate this auspicious occasion.
Along with the celebrations of the festival, there is also a history associated with this it, which has been passed through generations over hundreds of years. This is mainly the reason why there is such a wide celebration of the festival of lights.
Light symbolizes a start of new ideas and thoughts, which is what the Chinese New Year is all about and the lanterns are the best symbols for it. In the following description, we will discuss the short history and the variety of designs made for them.


There are two types of lanterns, one which can be made and hung around the houses, and the other, which is flown into the air
⋄ The paper lanterns are very easy to make and are strung to a rope and hung with an electric light inside it
⋄ The flying or sky lanterns have a gas balloon strategy with which they are made and released in the night sky. Once the flame is dead, they gently recede to the ground.
⋄ In 104 BCE, when the only mode of light was fire and candles, lanterns were considered the best choices. The lantern festival started during the Han Dynasty, when the Emperor Wudi proclaimed the importance of the first full moon event.
⋄ At that time, this it lasted for the entire night, which was followed by a three day celebration.
⋄ It then became a five day festival in the Song Dynasty, which was organized in bigger cities of China. Once it was officially declared as a festival, craftsmen began to make bigger lanterns with colorful characters on them, and gradually, the paper lanterns were replaced with glass ones.
⋄ This festival was the longest in the 15th century, and lasted for about 10 days. This was the time when these colorful lanterns were sold in a market and people bought them to be flown in the sky.

Lantern Designs

There are many designs and ideas, which are used in making these beautiful lanterns. Along with their artistic styles, they are made in a combination of various colors.
⋄ Paper lanterns are made with cuts in the body so that the light shines through these slits. The cuts can also be shaped in designs like circles, squares and diagonal squares, stars, and many others.
⋄ Many craftsmen also make life-sized paper lanterns of shapes like birds, kites, fairies, dragons, and other symbolic structures of the Chinese culture.
⋄ There are glass lanterns that are elegantly stain-painted with oil paints, and kept outside homes. Little candles inside these lanterns give them the perfect look of simplicity.
⋄ The flying or sky lanterns, however, are made of fabric, which is mostly white or orange in color, with the hot air mechanism inside them.
Whatever the designs of the lanterns, they all look breathtaking and fantastic. If ever you are in China during their New Year, do not miss the joy of flying them, as this experience is truly memorable!