Usage in festivals
 
China
 
In ancient China, sky lanterns were strategically used in wars. However later on, non-military applications were employed as they became popular with children at festivals. These lanterns were subsequently incorporated into festivals like the Chinese Mid-Autumn and Lantern Festivals.
 
Taiwan
 
Pingxi District in New Taipei City of Taiwan holds an annual Lantern Festival in which sky lanterns are released into the night sky with people's wishes written on the lantern.
 
Thailand
 
Release of a sky lantern during Yi Peng near Chiang Mai, Thailand The Lanna people of northern Thailand use "floating lanterns" (โคมลอย, khom loi) year round, for celebrations and other special occasions. One very important festival in which sky lanterns are used is the Lanna Yi Peng festival, which is held on a full moon of the 2nd month (ยี่เป็ง, Yi Peng) of the Lanna calendar (which coincides with Loi Krathong, the traditional festival on the 12th month of the Thai lunar calendar). During the Yi Peng festival, a multitude of lanterns are launched into the air where they resemble large flocks of giant fluorescent jellyfish gracefully floating by through the sky. The most elaborate Yi Peng celebrations can be seen in Chiang Mai,[5] the ancient capital of the former Lanna kingdom. The festival is meant as a time to obtain Buddhist merit (ทำบุญ, tham bun, "fire lamps"). In recent times, floating lanterns have become so popular with all Thai people that they have become integrated into the festival in the rest of country.
 
In addition, people will also decorate their houses, gardens and temples with intricately shaped paper lanterns (โคมไฟ, khom fai) of various forms. It is considered good luck to release a sky lantern, and many Thais believe they are symbolic of problems and worries floating away.
 
Portugal and Brazil
 
Releasing a sky lantern in Mexico.
In Brazil, sky lanterns (balão in Portuguese) were a traditional feature of the winter holidays (Festas Juninas) at the end of June. It is claimed that custom was brought to Brazil from Portugal by colonists in the 16th century, and is still strong in Portugal, especially in Porto. The June holidays tradition also includes firecrackers and fireworks another Chinese invention; so it is conjectured that these elements may have been brought from China, by Portuguese explorers around the 1500. The design and customs of Brazilian sky lanterns are modified to suite their festivals.
 
Frei Bartolomeu de Gusmão, using a large scale version of these lanterns, was the first man to fly a Hot air balloon in August 8, 1709, in the hall of the Casa da Índia in Lisbon, Portugal, long before the Montgolfier brothers.
 
Brazilian sky lanterns were usually made by small groups of children and adolescents; but adults sometimes joined the effort, especially for the larger and most elaborate balloons. The launching of a large lantern, which could be one or two metres across, would usually require the cooperation of several people, to hold the balloon fully stretched until it was fully inflated.
 
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