Having grown up in the U.S. all my life, I’ve never encountered or even heard of a lantern festival.
Last year, I had the opportunity to visit Pingxi, probably the most popular destination in Taiwan for lantern festivals. It’s a 3-4 hour trip from where we stayed. I had envisioned what a lantern festival would be like (probably because of Disney movies) and indeed it was quite a sight.
But the beauty of lantern festivals isn’t really in the sight of thousands of sky lanterns being lit. Don’t get me wrong; it’s a cool sight to see. But the beauty of it was in the time and meaning spent with the people you love. It’s in writing & sharing hopes & wishes for the upcoming year, letting go of the lanterns as a group (sky lanterns require 4 people to simultaneously let go once it’s lit), and enjoying good food together.
98.5% of the time, lantern festivals are actually not all that glamorous. It’s simple. Friends, food, time spent together, reflecting upon the current year, & dreaming about the future.
That’s really what we hope to capture (given the fire & environment regulations of sky lanterns in the U.S. ) Though we can’t light off sky lanterns, we hope to capture everything else.