Friday, February 11, 2011

Paper Lanterns Around the World

Paper lanterns create a soft, magical light that is nearly impossible to replicate in any other form. No other type of lantern exudes the kind of ethereal light in all directions that emenates from a paper lamp. The glow of a paper lantern can be effectively soothing or festive, depending on the context, and this is part of why this type of lantern is so popular throughout the world.

In Thailand, flying paper lanterns are set ablaze and into the air for festivals throughout the year. Flying lanterns have a candle inside which, by heating up the air inside the lantern, causes it to rise far into the night sky. Sky lanterns are often known as wish lanterns, and tourists and local Thai people love lighting these pretty paper lanterns, making a wish, and then setting them free.

photo via China today

In China, the color red is associated with joy and good fortune. Thus, the red paper lanterns that are frequently seen throughout China, particularly during festivals and celebrations, symbolize vitality and good luck. The Chinese New Year is followed by a festival dedicated to these iconic paper lanterns; the Lantern Festival has grown to rival other huge celebrations like Carnival in Rio de Janeiro, and is sometimes referred to as Second New Year.

photo via this neat diwali site

Diwali is the Indian New Year festival of light (Diwali literally means "row of lights"), and is celebrated by Indian people all over the world. "Diwali is a festival of the light which dispels the darkness of our ignorance; it is a festival of the light which shows us the way on our journey through life."(via red hot curry) To celebrate this enlightened light, Diwali revelers line their streets with paper lanterns (especially star lamps), set off fireworks, and play with sparklers.

Paper lanterns are used all around the world to create an ambiance of celebration and good cheer. The paper lanterns from Mexicali Blues are responsibly imported from countries where they are traditionally used for big celebrations like the ones we just described. Here in the United States, we often see them used as lighting for weddings, party lights, or hippie lanterns to create a mellow decor in the home.

Check out our selection of star lamps, paper globe lanterns, traditional Nepalese paper lanterns, nylon globe lanterns, and hanging light kits to give them their glow! This week only (from 02/14 - 02/20) we are also offering 30% off of all lanterns and light kits, as well as 25% off of EVERYTHING at Mexicali Blues stores and our Mexicali website. Don't let the dull dim of February get you down; turn on your love light!

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