While many people in the United States are just beginning to hear about sky lanterns, the fact remains that sky lanterns are one of the most well known festivity activities in the world. They hold so much significance for people in the Asian culture and are said to imply good luck and prosperity, as they are used in wedding after wedding in a great deal of the Asian countries.
While they may seem like something new, sky lanterns are a dated wedding tradition. They go all the way back to times of war when Chinese troops used them to signal to one another. They were useful for this as they could be sent into the air but did not remain there, falling back to the ground after just a few minutes in the air, enough time to get the word out that all was well or was not well.
It was not until times of peace when commoners began to employ the use of sky lanterns in everyday activities, using them as a means of sending wishes and prayers up into the sky towards the heavens where they might be heard better. In addition, the sight of the many sky lanterns in the air is a way of bringing tranquility to any family activity or formal festivity, bringing people closer to one another and the beauty of the heavens as many sky lanterns in the air at once imply godliness and heavenly bodies and beings.
Sky lanterns come in all types of sizes from the very large to the very small or baby sized sky lanterns. They are used in celebration of all types of things and are the central focus of many festivals, The Yipeng Lantern Festival celebrates the twelfth moon in the Buddhist Calendar, and sky lanterns are a great part of these festivities.
Outside of historical value, sky lanterns are also thought to hold good luck as well. It was thought that the longer the sky lantern floated in the air, the better luck they would have, and that the lanterns floating in the air would bring them luck and ease their troubles, pleasing deities and keeping bad spirits away. It was also said that if these lanterns were offered to Buddhist monks they would receive wisdom and knowledge that they did not previously possess, as the light is said to be the light guiding people to the path of knowledge and righteousness.