Monday, February 9, 2009

元宵节 | Lantern Festival

Today is 元宵节 (Yuánxiāojié) Lantern Festival, and were getting ready by making our very own 孔明灯 (kǒng míng dēng) Sky Lantern. The story goes the leader during the three kingdom period was surrounded by his enemy's and by sending out these floating lanterns he was able to call for help, his name "Kong Ming".

Back then the lanterns were made from strips of bamboo and oiled rice paper with a single candle burning in the middle but because of the lack of lush rain forest in our area we went with drinking straws from our local Dico's and birthday candles from a nearby bakery. After being stared at like some sort of zoo animal at Dico's for taking 6-7 straw's we came back home and dug up the lightest looking trash bag for our lantern, at this point you may be wondering "Carl, why don’t you just buy one its so much easier". Your right! But that takes all the fun out of it and what would you be doing now? Not learning how to make the cheapest flying lantern in Tianjin that’s what, so back to the topic at hand.

First you need to make the bag smaller at the bottom, this way most of the heat is at the top of the bag so it raises straight up once filled with hot air. We used some small plastic tape bought at 乐购 (lè gòu) TESCO.

Using the tape Yakun held the straws in an X shape while I taped them together, then with a sewing needle I poked 4 holes in the straw, placed the candles in their holders and poked them into the straws.

Once that was done we simply taped each end of the straw's to the bag, taking a blow-dryer we filled it with hot air and not soon after it started to take flight! The real test will be when we head to the waterfront and let her fly over the bay.


  1. Nice blog! I tried to subscribe using Google's feed reader, but it was only getting the titles of your entries, no content.

  2. Thanks for the help Nicki, I think I've fixed the problem now.