Light is often a sign of hope, love, peace, and warmth. It plays a vital role in our lives. The lantern festival is one of the common ways to celebrate light. Some celebrate it by releasing lanterns on a water body, allowing then to fly high in the sky, or by just decorating streets and homes with them. From religious and cultural traditions like the Thailand Lantern Festivals, Chiang Mai Lantern Festival, Diwali in India, Spring Lantern Festival celebrated in China, and Taiwan. Lantern festivals are celebrated to respect the ocean in Japan and to celebrate kindness, spirit, and respect for the dead. This festival is really a sight to behold. If you too want to experience this, then here are some of the popular Lantern Festivals around the world.
Lantern festivals across the world are defined by the illuminating different things, from flickering luminaries, rice paper floaters to stranded candlelit objects. Every festival has a deep meaning, whether religious, traditional, or cultural. However, lantern festivals focus on hope and peace. Each lantern festival has its own life and ambiance, among which many will be a memorable experience. Here, we are discussing everything about the lantern festival, including lantern festival history, when it is celebrated and much more.
Popular Lantern festivals around the world
Loy Krathong and Yi Peng, Thailand
Loy Krathong and Yi Peng are the two most popular lantern festival in Thailand. It is celebrated around November every year. Loy Krathong is the floating lantern festival whereas Yi Peng takes festivities high to the skies with flying lanterns. Both celebrations look like a fairy tale and are celebrated on the same day.
Loy Krathong is a conventional festival that pays respect to the Buddha and Thai water goddess. Celebrated during the full moon of the 12th Lunar month in the Thai calendar, attendees release lotus-shaped floating lanterns on water bodies across Thailand.
Yi Peng, the sky lantern festival is exclusive to the Northern Thai city of Chiang Mai. This city is also known as the ancient capital of the previous Lanna kingdom. The big moment in this celebration is the launching of Khom Loi lanterns which floats upwards in the sky. Some of the popular hot spots for the Thai lantern festival include Chiang Mai, Sukhothai, and Bangkok. In 2020, Loy Krathong will be celebrated on 31st October. Yi Peng will be celebrated on October 31st and November 1st.
Full Moon Lantern Festival, Vietnam
This lantern festival Vietnam is celebrated every month on the 14th of the lunar calendar in Hoi An. Steeped in Buddhist rituals, it is believed by Vietnamese that releasing lanterns in a full moon day will bring them happiness, wealth, and health.
To celebrate, the whole city shuts down the electricity at 8 pm. The streets are illuminated with beautiful lantern lights. Both visitors and come together to release these lanterns. As a bonus, tourists can even glide on-board a customary canoe for captivating views of the lanterns on water and hung up across the city.
Pingxi Lantern Festival, Taiwan
Every year, thousands of people come together in the mountainside village of Pingxi for its yearly lantern festival on the last day of the Chinese New Year. The Pingxi Lantern Festival dates back for more than 100 years and is a kind of ancestor worship. During the celebrations, people write their wishes with a calligraphy pen on the paper lanterns and release them in the sky with the hope that their prayers will be answered by their ancestors.
Sky lanterns in Taiwan are permitted to be released in Pingxi as the local geography and mountains avoid the lanterns from flying high. When you arrive in the town, you will find thousands of lantern shops selling varieties of lanterns in different colors and designs. The next Pingxi Lantern festival will be celebrated on 26th February 2021.
Spring Lantern Festival, China
It is one of the popular lantern festivals around the world that dates back more than 2,000 years. It is celebrated to observe the last day of the Chinese New Year. Celebrated across the nation, it also marks the first full moon night. Some of the popular activities for travelers include solving riddles written on the lanterns, lighting lanterns, watching lion dance, and eating tangyuan. Though in China, the lanterns are not released into the sky, people across the city hang red and yellow colored glowing lanterns everywhere. It seems like a beautiful show of different lights. The best places to experience this festival are the Qinhuai International Lantern Festival in Nanjing, the Guangzhou Yuexiu Park Lantern Fair, and the Shanghai Yuyuan Lantern Festival.
Lantern Festival, Hawaii
The Hawaiian Lantern Floating Festival is a peaceful ceremony meant to pay tribute to the departed soul on Memorial Day. Celebrated annually on May 27, this event at Ala Moana Beach unites several people who come together to celebrate adversity and harmony. This festival is open for all the participants at no cost. The ceremony starts with the blowing of the Hawaiian conch shell, followed by musical performances like the Taiko drums and the Ka Lei Moana Hua performance. Once the ceremony ends, lanterns with personal messages are released on the Hawaiian waters by participants in an act of kindness and remembrance.
St. Johns Night, Poland
St John’s Night is a festival celebrating summer solstice which is celebrated on the longest and shortest night of the year in Poland. Though visitors can see this beautiful festival around the country, the largest event takes place in Poznan. Attendees participate in different activities like jumping on the bonfires, young ladies and girls releasing their stitched flower wreaths with a lit candle floating on the water, and crowd wearing folk costumes while dancing and drinking. This celebration is a raucous and fun occasion. Once the celebration is over, thousands of lanterns are released with firework displays enlightening the sky.
Rise Lantern Festival, Las Vegas
An eco-friendly celebration of hope, prayer, and love, the Rise Lantern Festival is celebrated annually in the Mojave Desert, Nevada. This festival is inspired by the flying lantern festival like the ones that are celebrated in Taiwan and Thailand. It has carried that idea to develop a spiritual celebration in the United States.
During this celebration, tourists will enjoy an afternoon of live music and release lanterns with messages written on them. The best part of this event is it is not restricted to one religion or belief system and is open to all faiths who make the ceremony special through their unique ideas.
Sky Lantern Festival and Water Lantern Festival, Utah
It is also one of the popular lantern festivals around the world which everyone must see at least once in their lifetime. This Sky Lantern Festival is hosted in Utah’s Salt Lake City. The Water Lantern Festival is inspired by Yi Peng and Loy Krathong festival celebrated in Thailand. This festival is peaceful and is a memorable event for family and friends.
Participants can take part in the lantern release and get to wrote messages on the totally eco-friendly lanterns as a form of making a wish. The Sky Lantern Festival is scheduled to take place on 16th May while the Water Lantern Festival will be celebrated on September 12, 2020.
These are some of the popular lantern festivals around the world. You must experience any of these once in your lifetime.