You can teach and involve your whole family in the making of these delightful paper lanterns but make sure to keep burning candles out of the reach of children. This fire hazard can happen anywhere and it would be really disastrous. Make sure that you do not place lit lanterns in places such as near curtains and cloths, in bedrooms, or in places where flames could reach any flammable materials. Pets pose another problem and they must be kept away from the paper lanterns as their urge for investigating the lights would cause great problems.
Modern lanterns are designed to work with safe electrical lights inside them. Never replace these bulbs with any form of open flame as the synthetic materials used during manufacturing will catch fire in an instant.
Tuesday, September 22, 2009
Most people can make these simplified forms of the paper lanterns using a plain brown paper bag, some filling material like sand and a small candle. They are quite special and they can be prepared following a simple and easy method. First take a bag and place it on the floor. The bag must be filled up to the halfway mark with sand and it should be very well dispersed. Now place the candle into the bag making sure it is right in the centre to avoid the bag catching fire. The candle must be pushed at least half an inch into the sand. Now light the candle and your bag lantern is ready. You can buy the material from any store. Keep your bag lanterns away from flammable materials like curtains or dry wood. A happy line of bag lanterns at the entrance to your home creates a welcoming feel for party goers; otherwise you could place them all over your garden to create a magical look.
Some paper lanterns are made to float in the air. This happens when the heat from the candle below the lantern builds up in the enclosed lantern causing it to rise and the paper lantern to float away like a hot air balloon, working on the same principle. These fiery balloons can be seen heading skywards during many festivals like the Chinese New Year festivities. Each lantern that rises up takes with it wishes for a prosperous New Year for the sender. In the ancient times they used to make these artefacts with the help of bamboo. Sturdy bamboo frames were covered with rice paper back then, but as times passed, the structure of these lanterns became very refined and intricate. Modern versions are made from materials such as plastic, origami paper, and aluminium and from fire resistant rice paper that does not catch fire like ordinary paper. For extra safety, replace the candle with small electric lights such as Christmas lights.
The very first paper lanterns stemmed from the ancient Chinese who used it to protect their light-giving flames from the wind and the elements. In Japan their sole purpose was to satisfy the need for light during times of darkness. What started out as a functional art form, transformed over the years into a very decorative item that symbolised status and importance. Since then the making of these little lights has really changed and designs broadened into very diverse lanterns. Far removed from the Asian rituals, these lanterns charmed the western world into buying them as pure decorative items. Many restaurants, shops and even party planners swear by the effect these little charmers have on their customers, so they use them in a lavishing display of fun.
Chinese and Japanese lantern manufacturers gave the world some of its most precious and fascinating artefacts in paper lanterns. As decorative objects these lanterns can be seen in many homes all over the world, but they come into their own during the many Asian rituals and festivals where they are the stars of the show. Made from paper and simple sticks these innovative delights are very popular and easy to make yourself. Shops all over the world stock massive ranges of paper lanterns and you may spot these stores by the massive red lantern they usually display telling Asians that they can get their lanterns there.