The history of Chinese Lanterns starts long ago – around 250 BC, with Lanterns made of various materials and with different uses to the ones we have today. ¬† Chinese lanterns would first have been used as a way to protect the only available light source‚ÄĒthe naked flame‚ÄĒfrom wind and foul weather. People enjoyed the subtle light that came from lanterns, and their popularity became widespread.¬† Lanterns decorated the palaces of emperors and other leaders, each trying to outdo the other with larger and more elaborate¬† designs. Because of this, the lantern became a way of expressing social status.
Chinese Lanterns are always associated with colour.¬† Red is the most common lantern colour, associated with joy and good fortune., energy and vitality. Red lanterns feature liberally in marriage and birth ceremonies, and hang outside the doorway of houses celebrating these occasions.
Blue Chinese Lanterns represent sickness, so displaying a lantern of that colour signals an illness in the household.¬† White represents death and mourning and therefore indicate that a death has occurred in that household if hung outside.
Chinese Lanterns were made of various materials – paper, silk for example and throughout history Lanterns have had images of historical figures and traditional chinese landscapes.¬† Lanterns also were used zodiac symbols.¬† Historcially, decorated Chinese Lanterns would show the traditions of the area they were in and the personal tastes of the artist.
Chinese Lanterns became more popular and became an item that would be launched into the sky aswell as hung for decoration.¬† Festivals, such as new year festivals when masses of people gathered with their lanterns in an attempt to catch a glimpse of the spirits of deceased loved ones passing over to heaven became popular and lanterns could be seen for miles as they were released on mass into the night sky.
Today, in addition to New Year celebrations,¬† Chinese Flying Lanterns are used in all countries for many festivities such as weddings, births, birthday parties and just general gathering with friends and family.¬† They are a magical way of celebrating any event or occasion.