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Paper Lantern

According to a popular legend, when the first time Buddhism introduce into China some 2,000 years ago, the moon appeared in full and people spotted some angels dancing in the moonlight. On the same day of the following year, people came out to watch the dancing angles. However, a large cloud spread across the sky and the people could not see them. Disappointed, the people started to look for the angles by torches. But no matter how hard they searched, they still could not see them. Starting from that year people began to looking for the angles the same evening every year. Such event eventually turned into a custom and paper lantern replaced the torch.

In feudal China a school master in a private school used to light portable lanterns for his students on the first day of a school year, for the word 'lantern' shares the same pronunciation of word 'success' of imperial examination. Lantern also symbolizes new generation for their similar pronunciation, so a red rice paper lantern, in token of multiplication, would accompany a bride to her bridal chamber. For the same reason hanging name lanterns embellished the landscape of almost every Chinese town.

The most poetic part of lantern is Lantern Festival, which is celebrated on the 15th day of the 1st month of the lunar calendar. On the evening of the festival all kind of lanterns are hung out. Jointed by mammoth parades, opera performances, fireworks and dancing teams, the festival bustles with noise and excitement and is celebrated late into the night. Lantern riddles, a game of guessing a riddle written on lanterns, add the appeal to the event. Lantern Festival became official holiday in the 5th century, and hanging lantern was mandatory from the 10th century. In 1403 a magnificent lantern fair was set up in Beijing, and its location has been named thus since.

Paper lantern varieties
Home-made lanterns


Equipment
  • Bamboo stick
  • Rice paper
  • Rice paste
How to
  1. Cut bamboo into pieces of shim half inch wide. The finished shim should be clear of the nodal surfaces.
  2. Bend the bamboo sticks.   The flame of a candle can make the bending easier. The smaller the paper lantern the dimmer the flame. Dip the sticks into cold water to reinforce the shape after heating.
  3. Fasten the components by thread to constitute the framework. Tape a stick to the bottom to facilitate candle there later.



  4. Finish by pasting the paper.

 
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