Chengdu / Holidays and Celebrations / Phil

Lantern Launching

中秋节快乐!Happy Lunar New Year and Lantern Festival! And true to its name, last night the skies were filled with an aerial armada of floating lanterns drifting, and crashing down, across the city night sky. Leading up to the night, stores and offices were full of pastry called moon cakes, a sometimes delicious, sometimes not, pastry of sorts. The ingredients of moon cakes, sort of shaped like an oversized brownie, varies and so does the elaborate and cost to purchase – see Ashley’s blog post below for more information about the wide variety of options and unusual flavor combinations. Last night we walked along river by 川大, Chengdu’s premier university, and watched people launch plastic lanterns propelled by the loft created by small paraffin suspended by a wire base. Costing only five kaui, approximately .75 cents, the price allowed for everyone to participate in the celebration.

Lanterns are supposed to be floated by couples. Like the West’s birthday candles, couples are suppose to make wishes before they send them on their way. Some couples were more successful than others.

A guilty confession here, Ashley and I participated in celebration. The reason for the guilt is all of this plastic ends up crashing back down to earth landing on cars, people and frequently into the river. We made our wish and by doing so we became quiet the oddity. Foreigners + lanterns = lots people with cameras taking photos of us. The last tidbit of inform, the lanterns are called 功明灯 (gong ming deng).


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