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The Mayans believed that taking a picture can take a man's soul. They also believed that sky lanterns were not invented to set fire to council houses in Stockport, causing all manner of fire service call outs for these deadly tissue paper incendiary bombs! It's like Dresden in the summer in Northampton as the sky fills with ominous glowing spheres preparing to descend on the East Midlands and snare in trees, old people's hair and recycling center's. All you need do now to burn down your business for an insurance claim in recession is buy a packet of these. They are not great for animals either, farm livestock know to eat the remains.
My understanding is that these things were supposed to be used for religious and cultural ceremonies, sending the spirit to heaven and stuff. Now if Sophie passes her A-Levels or driving test up they go. Mandy has got her scan all clear for her bowels and off to Poundland they go for the ten pack! The fashion for these seems to have made its way to England via Trustafarians backpacks, bought back by students reveling in those ghastly full moon parties of the 1990s in Thailand and South East Asia, hardly enlightenment of the Buddha. Jigging about high on ecstasy and pot to Right Said Fred on Koh Phangan beach with some media studies graduates from Keele tripping off Red Bull is not my idea of fun and ancient mysticism.
It's no surprise that the rise of the use of Chinese Lanterns marries with the rise of UFO sightings. 'Hey Barry, look at those lights in the sky, forming a star constellation. It must be an invasion force. Post it on YouTube Kevin'.
Traditionally made from race paper and bamboo the heat from a small candle would launch the lantern high in the sky. Chinese warlords used them to signal for help when they were losing wars. The British version is made of cheap bog paper and plastic and reaches the height of around 50ft. You can have really big ones around the world but in the UK tend to be the size of an inflated black rubbish bag. In fact you could easily make one yourself with some wire and the white plastic trash bags. The ones around our way appear to be something similar.
A basic one is around a quid each and you can buy them in multiples. For the best effect you need lots of them in a wide open space to launch. After a few cans of Stella on the sink estate you can see a whole invasion force go up from Dale's postage stamp with the status dogs yapping deliriously, spinning in wild circles and chewing on a chunky tire. But they are not social class specific and can be seen rising from all manner of abodes.
My use of the Chinese lanterns is purely for silly reasons, the idea being we buy a multipack from Poundland and then have a competition for money to see who can get there's to travel the furthest. You selotape a pound coin on the lantern with your mobile number and you hope someone rings back the furthest away to take the pot of cash you staked. It's very silly but I did it with the Northant's cricket team lads and it went down well. There was a heath fire nearby later than night but no comment on that.
To use them its common sense. First you need to be careful extracting the thing from the packet as they are fragile. If you do the teeth tear or animal claw opening you will easily rip the actual lantern tissue paper. When you launch it make sure it's not at an angle when it's alight or you will set fire to it. Don't bother if it windy as it needs to keep the heat in the lantern to rise to any height. You don't want it floating through Abduls window when he is on the toilet.
They are good fun and great to see them go up and up on a warm winter's night. They are cheap and certainly get your neighbors attention. If you are really naughty you can play air raid with them on Guy Fawkes Night and try and bring one of them down with a rocket. What can't you do with one!
These are lovely to watch but feel they have a hidden danger to them especially if released in groups. I first noticed some of these in the night sky a few years back and was mystified at the time as to what they were and yes Ufo's did come into mind.
I had seen them in some shops for around the £6-10.00 mark but one day at the start of this year found them in Poundland so purchased one that we planned to release into the night sky in remembrance of a family member that had passed.
They come flat packed and ours was a typical balloon shape but you can get heart shaped ones too. When opened out and ready to release they are approx 1 metre high. It is very lightweight and made from a natural cream colour paper. Traditionally the Chinese made them from oiled rice paper.
The frame is stiff but unsure what material is used to make the frame take hold of it's shape.
To get these into the air it had a small square cupboard piece at the base which is left open just like a hot air balloon. The square lighter part is is attached to the sides still and once you light it around the corners it takes about a minute for the lantern to start to rise up. You need plenty of open space and nothing in it's way as it rises. We are near an airport but we were the distance away from it that the instructions stated. However as the glowing orange lantern took off I became concerned about the dangers of it. We watched it for about 5 minutes go so very high and get far away until we couldn't see it any more. It was nice but I would not do one again.
The dangers of using these are far more then the odd problem, if used in dry weather they could start a fire if still lit when lands, animals could try to eat the remains, aircraft could come into contact with them etc..
Not everyone that uses these will read the instructions properly and end up in trouble with it before it's even taken off. I've heard of parties releasing these in large amounts and just think people are unaware of the dangers.
On researching the make of these from poundland I found the following details in a article...
On 1 July 2013 the 'largest fire ever' in the West Midlands of England, involving 100,000 tonnes of recycling material and causing an estimated six million pounds worth of damage, was started by a sky lantern which landed at a plastics recycling plant in Smethwick. Images of the lantern starting the fire were captured on CCTV. In response to the fire, Poundland decided to stop selling sky lanterns and recalled their entire stock on 6 July 2013.
So my point proven about the dangers of them. I would not use one again and would not encourage others to try them either. I personally think they should all be removed from shops as you have no control over them once they are released.
One star from me for the sheer dangers of them.
hi just my point i would advize against anyone even trying to buy these my nana past away in september i bought a box of 5 of these lanterns at the end of september to loose off tonight christmas eve in memory of my nana i tried to light one of them and it started to burn i had to stamp it out i thought it was just a one off that was bad
untill i tried lighting the second one only to be burned when it setup into flames it states on the box the paper blackens on flakes away if thats the case then id like the company to explain why the hell i just got burned by a full blown fired up lantern that burst into flames id also appreciate it if anyone can email me the address of the company that made these lanterns as i am now going to take legal action against this i followed all the instructions 3 off us stood holding the lantern tried 6 times to light the wick on the first lantern which burnt straight through the strings
the second just went up in a fire ball
so please anyone with any address i could email to please email me at email@example.com
What are sky lanterns?
Sky lanterns originate from Asia and have been used for centuries, first by armies as a means of sending signals and later by local people, who released lanterns in the belief that they would carry away all their troubles and bad luck, granting wishes and bringing good fortune as they rose towards heaven. In recent years sky lanterns have become a popular way to mark a special occasion, taking over from fireworks in some cases. They look attractive and peaceful as they drift upwards in the night sky, disappearing into the distance. Apparently they can fly for many miles before burning out if the weather conditions are appropriate. Last Christmas we received some sky lanterns as a present and we decided to release them at midnight on New Year's Eve.
The sky lanterns we had were sold individually. The packet had a lot of information written on both sides about how to use the lantern safely, as well as some information on the history of sky lanterns. It explained in 3 illustrated steps how to use the lantern.
1. Light the fuel cell to fill your lantern with hot air
2. Release your lantern into the night sky
3. Watch it become a distant star in the sky
This made it sound very simple, but it didn't quite turn out like that. It says on the packet instructions that you need a minimum of two adults to light and release the sky lantern. We found that we needed four people to hold the lantern up safely. We took the lantern out of its plastic wrapping and it felt quite fragile, like when you buy one of those lampshades made out of paper and you're convinced they are going to tear. However, we didn't tear it. You should discard a lantern if it gets damaged in any way. According to the information on the packaging, you can write on the lantern and decorate it if you wish, prior to lighting, but we didn't bother to do that. If we had, I'm sure this would have increased the chances of it tearing. You should never tie anything to the lantern. Four of us held the lantern by the top and rim so that it filled with air. I was surprised at how big it was when inflated (probably about 2ft in diameter and 4ft tall, which made it quite tricky to control!) One we had smoothed the creases out of it and got it upright, it was my husband's task to light the fuel cell. This proved more tricky than we had expected. Although it didn't seem to be a particularly windy night, the matches kept blowing out. We ended up using double matches (i.e. two people striking a match and holding both flames against the fuel cell). Even this was ineffective, so we started lighting two matches held tightly together, and swapped from Swan matches to The Cook's Matches. This was much more effective and worked first time. It took about 10 - 20 seconds of holding the double-match near to the fuel cell for it to light.
According to the instructions, it takes approximately 30 seconds from the fuel cell being lit to the lantern being sufficiently full of hot air for it be ready for release. Unfortunately things were not quite so straightforward and it certainly took longer than 30 seconds. On a couple of occasions we tried to release the lantern too soon and it fell to the ground again - at one point narrowly missing my brother-in-law's head! It's easy to see how this could be rather dangerous because if a lantern plummets to the ground it might set fire to someone's clothing. You obviously need to keep children and pets well out of the way when you are launching a lantern.
Was it worth the effort?
Yes. Everyone at our new year's party really enjoyed the lanterns, fiddly though they were to launch. In fact, my daughter commented that the very fact that they required a bit of a knack and a few botched attempts made it all the more satisfying when you finally did manage to launch one. Obviously, you need the right weather conditions. We were lucky to have a fairly calm night, not much wind and it was not too cold. I imagine it would be rather depressing to be out there struggling to light a flame when your hands are freezing. I prefer them to fireworks. They are much more serene to look at and of course you don't get the bangs, so they are less likely to frighten animals or young children. There is something quite awe-inspiring about watching a lantern rise up into the night sky and disappear into the distance until it just looks like a speck. It gives you a sense of perspective, makes you think about the vastness of the universe and how small even the weightiest problem really is in the grander scheme of things. It is nice to make a wish as the lanterns are rising. It can be quite therapeutic to visualise your troubles being swept away by the lantern as it rises, or to imagine it speeding away on its journey to a place where your wishes will be granted.
It is easy to see how things could go badly wrong. In the wrong hands sky lanterns could be very dangerous and close supervision is essential. Having said that, I don't feel that they are less safe than fireworks and I am conscious that we live in an era where health and safety concerns seem to deny the existence of basic commonsense. It goes without saying that if you've been on the booze and aren't as alert as normal, it isn't a good idea to start playing around with naked flames. (It states on the packet that the lanterns must only be launched outside, which does make you wonder about the kind of person who might be tempted to do it in the living room! Probably the same person who is inclined to nail a Catherine wheel to the wardrobe door.) It states on the packaging that the lanterns are biodegradable, but I am not entirely convinced. Concerns have been raised about the metal wire support they contain, and whether that may be harmful to wildlife. This, I suspect, is minimal compared to the hazards created simply be people leaving everyday litter around. However, I would certainly like to know a bit more about this. I can't deny though that these lanterns made for a stunning end to our party and I am considering getting some more for my daughter's 18th birthday party.
These were a present and I've never bought them before, but I believe they are quite cheap, probably working out at about £1 a lantern. A few investigations on Amazon revealed that you could get a pack of 5 for £1.29. You can buy them individually or in multi-packs. In fact, I have seen these sold individually in my local Poundland.
Sky Lanterns are wonderful things that can really make you stop and think. Originally an Asian tradition, they are used at weddings, New Year celebrations and other special occasions, but really, they're for whatever purpose you need them to be. Adopting the same concept as a hot air balloon, and indeed thought to be a forerunner to them, sky lanterns often signify making a wish, as much as blowing out candles or pulling the wishbone on a roast chicken, for example.
I have had a few occasions where we have launched sky lanterns recently, and I have found that not only do they hold initial significance, but they can also bring people together. The first time I actually used one was at my brother's wedding, where a group of us got together later in the evening once the sun had gone down, and lit them, watching them all fly off and smiling at each other. Magical memories, and I shall always remember the wish I made watching it fly off - I'll not tell you, it's bad luck!
What is a sky lantern? Well, it's a completely biodegradable lantern, with the outer covering of rice paper being stretched over a bamboo shoot frame. There's a candle, or flammable burner at the base, and once you light this, the lantern fills with the heat and starts to rise. In high winds, they can often just fly straight along the ground, so you do need to be careful, but as long as you give yourself some room, it's quite easy to let the heat take it up. There are various different sizes and styles you can get them in, but the ones I tend to have used are roughly the same size and shape as a small bedside table, although naturally hollow and much lighter! There's nothing more magical than lighting one and watching it float up and up away into the night sky.
Of course, it makes more sense to let these off at night, as you'll get the full effect of it as a lantern, seeing it against the night sky. More recently, as a New Year celebration, we let a load off to float high, only to see a number of other close by lanterns also floating up. It was quite magical to see them rise from a few different places, obviously others had had the same idea.
But you do need to be aware of the dangers of doing something like this. Setting them off carries environmental issues beyond the obvious one of burning gas in the air. Many farmers hate them, as they can land on fields while still alight and cause damage to crops. However, the flames are often out by the time this happens, burning out while up high and out by the time the lantern floats back down to the ground. There's also the worry about animals trying to eat them, so hopefully their biodegradable nature will help to fade and wither them before this gets to be an issue. I can see the point with these issues, but it's still something I find magical, and it carries great meaning.
Historically, they have been used in battles and in festivals, but I suppose it's what each culture makes of it, and I absolutely love the togetherness that launching one of these brings me as a feeling, especially when my family are around. There's something special about looking up, arms around your closest and watching something symbolic and significant carry your wishes off into the skies, hoping they come true. A magical way to celebrate a special occasion, and one I recommend, they're also very cheap, prices working out at around £1 per lantern if you work it out. I find this incredibly good value, and www.skylanterns.co.uk have them for even cheaper. Recommended.
I've have bought and used sky lanterns on a number of occasions, the main one being for my wedding, where we used the lanterns as a lovely way to kick off the evening's events once it got dark. Because I've heard a lot of stories about how sky lanterns can basically be classed as littering because of the metal frame that they usually have around the lower edge of the lantern, I specifically looked to buy completely biodegradable sky lanterns, so that once they had burnt out, there would be no waste or rubbish left behind.
I bought 20 biodegradable sky lanterns from http://www.eco-sky-lanterns.co.uk/, and paid £33 for this number at the time, including free shipping. The lowest number of lanterns you can buy from them is 5, and this is currently £11.50, so it's better value to buy more and even if you don't use them, you can save them for other occasions.
When our sky lanterns arrived, we waited til dark and rushed outside to test one! The lantern consists of an open ended flame retardant paper 'tube' lantern, with a pre-attached 'fuel cell' (which basically looks like a small thin block of a yellowy substance), which is held in the middle of the open end of the lantern by fire proof wool. The fuel blocks in other sky lanterns I've seen has been held by metal wires, but not in this case, which is better in my opinion.
We puffed out the lantern so it would be easier to fill with warm air, and as my husband held it up, I lit the fuel cell. This was easy to do and the cell lit quickly and stayed alight. After 15-20 seconds, the lantern began to fill with hot air and felt like it wanted to drift away, but we held onto it for a few more seconds to get it super inflated before letting it go.
Once free, the lantern travelled upwards surprisingly quickly and was a good 20 feet about the ground in 10 seconds. It continued going upwards for ages, until a breeze caught it and it started drifting diagonally upwards. We watched until we couldn't see the sky lantern anymore, just a fading pinprick of yellowy light vanishing in the distance. After this test we knew we'd picked a good type of lantern and had high hopes for the wedding, when the rest of them would be set off.
I was thrilled with the effect the lanterns later had when they were set off en masse. They looked beautiful as they were floating off, and the flame retardant aspects to the design meant they were very safe for use, although obviously they are not meant to be lit by children. Everyone loved the sky lanterns we used and we felt better knowing that our eco-lanterns, although more expensive than standard ones, wouldn't be littering the countryside with bits of non-degradable metal. Highly recommended.
While doing my christmas shopping last year i spotted these lovely sky lanterns in a shop named hawkins bazaar after a quick look and read of the box i decided to buy them to let of at midnight new year at our party.
I had never seen or heard anything about sky lanterns before buying them but looked good and something different from fireworks. My sky lanterns cost £9.99 for 5 in a box, this is a little pricey because i have since seen them cheaper on amazon uk, play.com and ebay.
The sky lanterns did have instructions on the back of the box but was a bit vague but its not hard to see what to do with them once opened.
I was surprised how big the sky lanterns are, around 8 inches tall and like a inflated big balloon when opened out. A balloon is the best way for me to describe them as that's what they are mini hot air balloons.
The sky lanterns are made from thin white paper, with a thin metal frame inside. To light the sky lanterns their is a small square fabric part at the bottom, it is coated in a layer of wax and has to be set alight underneath the square.
When we got round to lighting the sky lanterns it was a little challenging and need both me and my partner, i held the top of the sky lanterns and my partner set the alight underneath that's it basically. I let got mine as soon as they were lit, there was a small breeze witch helped them up up and away probably quicker than they were supposed to however i watched mine float up magically for a good 20 minutes until my eyes hurt and could barely see them anymore.
Using the sky lanterns finished the party and old year off nicely. Watching the sky lanterns was more magical and calming even my children were quiet watching them float into space was truly lovely. My children would not stop talking about the sky lanterns and asked loads of curious questions from how far up they float to where will they land all question i was wondering too and could not give the answer see magical. These can be used for any occasion and i will definitely use these again.
I like the fact the sky lanterns are biodegradable so will not cause harm to the environment. These can only be used by adults not for children and come with warnings all over the box.
I highly recommend the sky lanterns , wonderful to watch.
It seems that these sky lanterns have been growing in poularity very rapidly recently, used at any social event it seems such as on birthdays and bbq's (when it was warm). I can obviously understand why indeed they are popular. Firstly they are so simple to set up and use, you get them of the bag they come contained in and open up the material until its fully out and expanded, the next step is to hold onthe metal frame whilst someone keeps the material stretched, the tea light which is held at the bottom is then lit by a lighter and the lantern is held in the same position until the lantern feels like it has significant force for which to take off into the nights sky.
So this is one point which makes them nice to use being how simple they are, another is the price! being available at most places now and often sold in packs of three, i have seen them being sold for as little as a £1.00!
I think they are nice to watch, drifting slowly up to the nights sky before being caught by the wind and sent on its way across the landscape. Almost until they are tiny specs of light in the nights sky, in which time they reach an altitude where oxgen decreases and the candle inside is extinguished. The lantern will then fall to the surface slowly with the canopy acting as a parachute.
However despite the fun side there are obvious dangers, the fact that you do have to handle an accessory containing fire. I have set these off many a time but have sometimes noticed that the candle starts to burn at the sides of the lantern, revealing great big scorch makes or even holes. This is obviously dangerous and although i should think that the lantern is made from some sort of fire retardent there is the danger of fire. Particuarly if this was blown close to a building or an ignition source on take off which could pose dangers of its own.
I also hate to bring down this product, but its also important to note its other impacts pacticularly f you live in a farming community whereby the falling carcass of the lantern may find its way into an area where wildlife may become endangered by its metal rim. Aswell as effectively littering the area in which you are as the lantern will not completely degrade for a long time.
The other point to mention and has featured in the news recently of the small child which recieved major burns from dripping hot candle wax which came from one of these lanterns on takeoff, The lantern obviously needs this wax as it is effectively a fuel to provide the hot carbon dioxide as a lift. But incidents like this do hilight the items dangers.
I would recommend using these as they are very good fun and entertaining but i would however make sure that the atmosphere is controlled with a high level of safety involved as you might use with fireworks, as they are dangerous if misused or if safety is lacking.
I've often seen pictures of these Sky Lanterns in various places on the web, and I've heard people talking about seeing them floating in the sky when they've been somewhere, but I could never really find any in the shops, and I so wanted to get one for my son because he loves this sort of thing. And then I was wandering around town and went into one of those gadget type shops and they had them for £1 each. So I bought 2 of them.
I think there are many varieties of these around, and there will probably be many more in the run up to Christmas because they seem to be popular. The ones we bought were by a company called Global Gizmos. The details on the outside of the packet lists the Lanterns as being 100% biodegradable, with up to a 20 minute flying time and being made from a flame resistant material.
When we got home, we opened up the packet, where each packet contains a single Sky Lantern. On the packet, they look like a graceful elongated upside down shopping bag with a sort of fine stiff structure at the bottom holding it open and supporting the cup holding the flame. When you actually get it out of the wrapping it is all carefully collapsed into a flat heap. The paper lantern material does feel fairly fragile, so you need to be careful handling it.
Opened out, it has a sort of flattish top which then forms down into a round opening which is held in shape by a lightweight ring. Across the ring there are a couple of cross pieces to provide support for the heat bit. The heat bit is provided by a wax fuel cell that is intended to sit in the middle of the cross pieces so that the heat it provides flow upwards into the upside down lantern.
The first thing to note is that you need to try and find a calm day (or preferably night because the effect is better) where the wind speed is below 5 miles per hour. Then you also have to be free from trees, overhead cables, aircraft flight paths, anywhere near the coast (in case the coast guard consider it as an boat or ship alarm signal), anywhere near dry crops etc etc - the list based on common sense goes on and on.
To set this lantern up and then launch it is a 2 person job, because initially it is quite large at a few feet tall, but also someone needs to hold it upright whilst the other person lights the fuel cell. Due to the size, potential fire hazard and the fragility of it, it is recommended as not being suitable for anyone under 18 years old.
The actual fuel cell looks like a small piece of flat cardboard covered in a waxy substance. With one person holding the lantern up ready for launch, the other person needs to light 2 corners of this cardboard, which can be tricky if you are using matches because it can take a while for the cardboard and wax to ignite. We used a candle in the end to save burning our fingers. But after it does light, the combination will begin to burn quite fiercely. The heat then generated starts to inflate the lantern fully and warms the air inside. From school you learn that warm air rises, and so as the lantern warms after a few minutes, it starts to go upwards.
When we did this with the first lantern, it was a bit of a faff trying to hold it upright, light the cell and then get it to take off straight up. With the second lantern, we had learnt the technique and it was a much smoother process.
It is kind of awe inspiring to actually see these lanterns float up into the air, and I would strongly recommend launching it at night. The flame burning inside the white lantern gives it an overall orange glow which looks more spectacular in the night sky. When we launched, there was practically no wind. So up to about 100 feet, the lanterns went straight up. After that it seemed that a slight breeze caught them and they started to drift off as they climbed. And they kept on climbing and drifting off until they became small dots in the distance.
I do have a few concerns though about these lanterns. Firstly, they are quite large and definitely 2 people are required to launch it. You also need to be extremely careful about what you are doing. Ok, the lantern itself is flame resistant, but if it catches a tree, bush or something else that is flammable after being launched, you could end up with a real problem if that fuel cell ignites something else, which is probably why they are restricted to over 18 years only. And then you have the issue of if you do manage to successfully launch it and it comes down early, or with the fuel cell still smouldering, what happens if it ignites something then on the ground? What about if the lantern comes down on a main road and gets entangled on a motorist? The list of potential dangers is endless.
On the one hand they are very beautiful when they launch and as you watch them disappear into the sky. But on the other, they are fraught with dangers, especially if launched around built up areas.
Balancing the arguments, for the sheer beauty of them, I would give them 5 stars. But the danger element does concern me enough to knock a couple of stars off.
So overall, a 3 star rating from me.
Review also on Ciao under Randal1.
It was on a recent shopping trip that I had a momentary loss of sanity. I was paying for some purchases in The Works, when the assistant asked me if I would like to buy a Sky Lantern for 99p. For some inexplicable reason I agreed, even though I wasn't really sure when I was going to get the opportunity to use the thing, and it has been sitting quite lonely on the top of my bookcase ever since, with the little 'uns whingeing about when we were actually going to light the thing. We actually planned to release the lantern on November 5th, the reason being that if anything terrible went wrong and something caught fire, we would stand less chance of going to prison! At any rate, November the 5th was very wet and windy, completely unsuitable for releasing a tissue lantern into the sky, so we had to wait until the next best opportunity, which was this evening.
The lantern comes in minimal packaging, as it basically only consists of tissue paper, with a bit of string and cardboard. The whole thing is folded neatly into a square, backed with a thin piece of card, containing the instructions for use, and wrapped in a thin layer of cellophane. You have to be very careful unwrapping the lantern, as the tissue is very thin, and if it rips you can't use it. I was really surprised how big the lantern was when we unfolded it. I think I was expecting it to be about the same size as the backing card, but it was much bigger, and when folded out, resembled a large bishop's hat (not a large bishop, a large hat!) At the bottom of the lantern, there were two pieces of string in a cross, with a piece of square cardboard suspended in the middle. The cardboard was protected with a sheet of protective paper, which you had to remove before lighting the two corners of the card square.
So there we are, all five of us, standing outside, shivering, in our small garden, ready for launch. Not too far away are several things that I hope the lantern will not hit. One of them is the M6 motorway...boy are those drivers in for a surprise if the lantern heads their way...We make sure the kiddies stand well back, and my 10 year old son is trying to film the whole thing. Mom stands holding the lantern, and dad has the matches. It takes two people to light one of these things and it would be really tricky if you were trying to do it by yourself!
Dad nags Mom about the appropriate angle to hold the lantern at so that he can light it properly.
Mom laughs at Dad as he fails to light the first match.
Dad lights the second match and proceeds to light the first corner sucessfully.
He is not so successful with the second corner, but does manage to burn his fingers because he held the match for too long!
Dad winces in pain.
We then forget about lighting the second corner, because by now, the wick is burning quite ferociously, and we quickly turn the whole thing over, hoping it doesn't catch fire. Luckily, the tissue must have been pre treated, or it would have turned to ash rather rapidly at this point.
Everyone says "ooooh" as the lantern fills with hot air and begins to expand.
It suddenly starts to get windy.
We decide that the lantern is light enough to release, but as we do so, another gust of wind pushes the lantern towards the three terrified children! The lantern floats eerily in mid air, like a ghost.
The kids run up the garden, screaming in terror!
Just as we think we have gained control of the wayward lantern, a messive gust of wind lifts it right up over the back gate. Oh no! It is loose!
Dad runs through the house and out the front door, looking for the lantern, just in time to see it float past the front door and into our close. The lantern heads towards number 11. It looks like it is going to set fire to their guttering.
At the last minute, another gust of wind blows the lantern up into the sky. We all watch it from the upstairs bedroom window as it gets higher and higher, before the light disappears, like a candle going out.
Kids cheer. They want another one.
In conclusion, I'm not convinced that I will buy another one of these in a hurry. They are very fiddly to light and can be quite dangerous in the wrong hands (ours!). On the plus side, they are a nice alternative to fireworks, and create a lovely effect when they are up in the sky. Just make sure you release them on a calm night!
Last year some friends came to visit us and brought with them some sky lanterns for us all to try. We live about halfway up the Great Orme in Llandudno with nothing in front of our house apart from fields, sea and mountains in the distance so they thought that this was the ideal place to release the lanterns for maximum effect.
Since our friends were only staying for a couple of nights we had to take pot luck with the weather and sadly it was quite breezy which didn't help in our endeavours! The idea is that you write a wish on the lantern and then send it to the heavens to be read by the gods and granted.
Each lantern was packed flat in a cellophane packet and, although we didn't buy them I have checked on the internet and have found that they cost less than £1 each. The lanterns are made of paper with a piece of wire across the bottom on the centre of which is the block of fuel.
What you do is to remove the lantern from the packaging, write your wish on the paper and then pull the lantern gently into shape making sure that the wire holds the base of the lantern open and the fuel block is centred on the wire ready for lighting.
This provided the first surprise - it was a lot bigger than I expected! (Ooer missus!) It must have been almost three feet high! We took the first one outside and it was then that we found out that these should be used when there is only a very slight breeze! You need some wind to take the lantern up into the sky but too much and it is difficult to get it launched so to speak!
Firstly it took us ages to get the fuel block lit although once it was lit and got a hold it did stay alight. The warmth from the flame then heated the air in the lantern and once released it was supposed to sail heavenwards taking the wish with it.
It was difficult to get the lantern fully open and upright in the breeze as it kept falling sideways but we finally managed to launch the first one which initially landed in a neighbouring field but did take off again after a while and off it went looking very pretty as it went.
The second one was a lot more trouble! Again it took a while to get it ready in the breeze but once launched the wind changed direction and the lantern chased my friend along the garden and finally landed on the top of his car making a mark on the paintwork. We did eventually get it launched but we decided that two was enough so we didn't try any more.
In conclusion I wouldn't really bother with these. For us they were more trouble than they were worth although they did look good when they finally flew off and we did have lots of laughs especially when it chased my friend! They are also supposedly biodegradable but whilst the paper may well be I can't see how the metal can be biodegradable!
I was also worried that, if it came down in dry field before the flame had extinguished, it may well start a fire.
Finally a couple of words of warning ...........
Do not let children use these unsupervised! They are unwieldy and can get caught by the breeze and end up where they shouldn't so there must be an adult present to make sure of safety at all times - after all it is a naked flame. Along the same lines it is best to keep pets out for the way too - we made sure that Mew was safely asleep on the sofa.
The other thing I need to warn you about is peculiar to the coast. When lit and flying in the night sky the lanterns are almost identical to distress flares so you must notify the coastguard in order that the emergency services are not called upon unnecessarily. I can't see out lifeboat crew being very pleased at the thought of launching for a sky lantern!
As to whether the wishes were granted - I have no idea since it is bad luck to tell anyone else what you wished for I don't know if their wishes came true. My lantern was one of the ones that didn't get launched so my wish never stood a chance! LOL!
In recent years I have noticed an increase in people using sky lanterns on an evening. Sky lanterns are simply very small versions of a hot air balloon, and they operate on the same principle. They are large (usually spherical) domes which have a frame at the bottom to accomodate a candle or something else that burns well, and they are released into the air to produce a soft glow as they rise through the air. I have noticed they are more and more popular at weddings, summers evenings, or just garden parties in general. I usually buy them in packs of 10 or a dozen online and they can work out very cheap if you buy a number at once.
Some sky lanterns are sold as biodegradable and contain no wire frame, meaning they will disintegrate when they eventually come back down to earth! I have come across a number of them in the middle of the road on occassions, and unless you appreciate them and have used them before you will probably fail to see the enjoyment they can bring.
Kids enjoy them, although I wouldn't recommend adults let them near the lantern once lit. They come in a large variety of colours and shapes. They can be bought in the style of an alien, or a football, the possibilities are endless. www.skylanterns.com have such a wide range of products. I am pleased to use their website and am always coming across new lines that they bring out. I would definately recommend you check out their website and possibly look at getting some lanterns to let off on New Years Eve.
Whilst looking around in the Works for some last minute christmas presents on the 24th, I spotted these selling at just 99p each . Having seen them in shops costing 6.99 before, I decided this was a good bargain, and decided to snap up a few for new years, as they would look wonderful floating away into the night sky.
They come wrapped in a clear plastic bag, and once you open them up, you'll realise these are actually quite huge . Size probably varies by brand, but they are a large balloon shape - too large, as I found out later to really be handled easily by one person . My daughter at six was far too young to be holding these, but she watched as , at about 7 on NYE, with a calm windless night, I attempted to light one of these .
It soon became apparent that due to the large size of these, and the location of the wick , a square piece of chipboard coated with waxed fabric, that I wasn't going to be able to manage this alone . I would recommend that you have a couple of other people to help you - two to hold the lantern upright, and one to duck underneath and light the wick. After faffing about with it for a few minutes, I knocked on my neighbours door and asked them if they would like to help set these off with me . They loved the idea, and my neighbour even attached a photo of her dad, who was killed a couple of years ago, to one of them, also drawing angels on the side of it . This was a lovely idea - sending a wish and prayer into the sky to past loved ones.
Between three of us, we did manage to get them lit , although lighting the wick itself was a struggle, as it seemed to take some time to catch , and you had to light two opposite corners . A windproof lighter, if you have one, might make things a little easier .
Once we successfully lit it, it took a couple of minutes for the lantern to fully inflate with hot air, and we could tell when it was ready to be released as it felt lighter in our hands . The lantern cast a warm glow, with the white paper sides coloured a warm bright orange by the flame within. We released our first lantern, watching as it rose up in the sky, heading quite high up as a good speed, and then slowly drifting away from us . We watched until it became a tiny speck in the distance, and as we watched we saw more going up from the areas around us . It was simply stunning to watch, such a simple, beautiful thing.
As with anything involving fire, these can be incredibly dangerous - and I certainly would not recommend lighting one of these alone, as even on the calmest of days it only takes the slightest breeze for it to attempt to be off on it's own . I also recommend staying sober - alcohol and fire do not mix well .
If you only have a small space, these could be pretty dangerous if they drift into fences and such while alight . My neighbours and I carefully checked which way the slight breeze was blowing before lighting these, opting to light them in our front gardens, knowing that the way they would blow was open land where it could cause no damage . The wicks are designed to be long burning, to give a satisfying flight, and so you really must be careful with these . There were a couple of warnings on the pack against using in crowded areas, near trees, or near an airport.
The lanterns themselves are made with fire resistant paper, which is biodegradable. That's a good thing, as otherwise there would be loads of litter lying about. I don't know if the lantern itself eventually catches fire and burns out, or if it simply gradually peters out with the shell falling down to earth , as mine vanished into the distance after a while . However, whilst the paper casing might be biodegradable, I'm not convinced that the metal frame would be, so I imagine that would need to be disposed of in a litter bin.
Overall, watching these float away on a clear cloudless night was wonderful - especially when, just moments after we sent them off on their way, it began to snow. I would certainly buy these again, they look wonderful and could be used for so many occasions - weddings, new years, bonfire night, funerals, or like my neighbour, just in memory of someone who has passed . I would personally like to see some smallers ones, more manageable alone, and I'm sure there are some out there .
I paid 99p for each of mine . Prices do vary from place to place, but they are pretty commonly available online and in a fair few shops, so I recommend looking around. Bear in mind that as a pyrotechical product, these are age restricted and intended for sale only to those over 18 - which I think is perfectly reasonable considering the potential danger if these are misused.
4 stars - one off for being rather bulky, and for the wick being a pain to light .
Its New Years Eve again and for many tonight it will be a case of out with the old and in with the new and celebrations and parties will be in full force throughout the land. For us it will be a quiet time spent with family and at midnight we will be raising a glass to those who are no longer with us. This year we wanted to mark the occasion with something different and as we had already given these Sky Lanterns a try on Bonfire Night we will, weather permitting, be sending some of these up into the sky with the names of our now gone loved ones written on them.
A relatively new addition to the firework/celebration range I only became aware of these prior to Bonfire night this year when my wife hurried me into the garden telling me to look at the sky at the procession of orange lights that appeared to be floating above us. I had only seen these before on Play.com so recognised them for what they were and we stood for ages watching them float prettily by. Inspired and wanting some for ourselves I ordered a pack from Play (the go by the name of Magical Flying Lantern there) and they arrived just in time for Bonfire Night.
A pack of four of these lantern retail for £9.99 now on Play but can be normally found on offer for a little cheaper, my four-pack cost £6.99 and when I reordered some more for today (New Years Eve) they were still at £6.99.
If you have never seen one of these before they are similar in concept and design to a hot air balloon, measuring 38x60cm they are large to hold in your hands and are made from flame resistant 100% biodegradable paper and have a rectangular bar beneath the canopy that you set on fire. The flames cause hot air to rise into the paper canopy and within a few minutes you let go of the lantern and into the sky it floats. They come flat in a cardboard box and it will take at least 3 people to hold the lantern, light the wick and give them time to be filled with enough hot air to rise into the sky.
A serious word of caution here, these can be and are very, very dangerous. Full instructions are given with the lanterns but I must stress that setting something on fire must always be done when you are sober and capable of dealing with the lantern should something go wrong. On our first attempt at Bonfire Night we lit one in my parents-in-law's garden and the lantern ended up in the neighbour's tree, setting it on fire. We had to throw a bucket of water over it to put out the flames and it could have had disastrous results if we weren't quick enough to deal with the situation. If you are planning on lighting these they must be done in a large open space with a minimum of wind blowing, if you attempt to light one in a residential area you may have serious consequences to deal with.
Fortunately we live very near to an open playing field and after the disaster of the first lantern we moved onto there for the remaining three and managed successfully to let them into the air. Once lit and above you they are beautiful and fascinating to watch and there is enough fuel for them to last around 20 minutes. You can watch them float away into the night and if there are other people letting them go at the same time the night sky is dotted with mysterious orange lights that look breathtaking.
There is a video of these in action on Plays website if you want to see them in action, just search under Magic Flying Lanterns and there it is.
Please though do follow the instructions given if you are considering buying these for a special occasion in 2010, I realise that it is too late to order them for tonight, but they would make any birthday or anniversary a special time if you let these go then.
I highly recommend these as something out of the ordinary that could be a special addition to any celebration but urge that you follow the directions given. For me they rate 4/5 Dooyoo stars as they are fiddly to get lit and awkward to hold whilst waiting for enough hot air to launch them into the sky, but once achieved the results are stunning.
I will end this review sending all Dooyooers wishes of a Happy and Peaceful 2010, whatever you are doing tonight, I hope you remain safe and that you celebrate the occasion in your own way. I mentioned earlier what I will be doing and I hope the wind keeps low enough to send up a few of these lanterns to those we have loved and lost.
Thanks for reading.
This sky lantern is not something which I would bought but it was given to me by my mom who was given it for us. I will admit that I was in no rush to light it as it is best to do so when it is dark and as the nights have been staying lighter for longer then we had not had chance to do so until last weekend.
-The History of Sky Lanterns-
Well, sky lanterns were made in China and they are now a Chinese Tradition, they were first invented during the three Kingdom Period. They were made and used by the locals to warn each other when enemy armies were approaching. They have now evolved and are used for sending personal wishes to the heavens and it is known that people do attach their own personal messages to the lanterns before they are lit and released. The lantern can now be found at weddings and special occasions.
The lantern is made from very fine tissue like papers and it is white in colour. It is approximately 1 meter long by half a meter wide and it forms a sort of dome shape when lit and floating in the sky.
There is a rectangle at the bottom which forms the wick and it is to be lit on each of the four corners. Before lighting the wick the lantern is to be opened up as best as possible and held from the top. Two people doing this makes the job easier as the wick is placed at the bottom and the lantern should be help and opened from the top.
When the lantern wick is lit than the lantern fill with hot air, this takes under a minute, which makes it open up fully and when it is completely inflated then it can be released. On releasing the lantern it is a tradition to make a wish which the lantern will send to the stars.
The Lantern must only be lit in on open area outside of the house and only by a responsible adult. You may wish to attach a piece of paper to you lantern with a special message, for instance a note in memory of a loved one or for a wedding with a wish for the happy couple. We did not attach a message to ours but we did make a wish when it was released.
The lantern does come in a flat plastic cover which has a nice detailed paper sleeve. The paper does have a few directions for use and there are also a few warnings for the user, these include things which really are very obvious anyway.
Use in low wind conditions
Do not launch near airports trees of overhead cables
Have a bucket of water present
To be used by a responsible adult and only in the conditions stated
-Opinion of lantern-
We watched our lantern for a good few minutes as we had a lovely clear night with only a few clouds. It was wonderful watching it lifting higher and higher in the dark night sky, I do wonder if anyone thought it was a UFO though! The lantern did rise straight up but after about 200 meters then it did hit a bit of wind and started going off to the side. We were still able to view the lantern until it finally disappeared behind a small cloud and then it was only a small bright dot which did look like a star.
The lantern is made from 100% biodegradable paper so when it does finally come back down to earth it is not going to remain littering the area which it has landed. The paper is also fire retardant.
Lighting a single lantern did give a nice effect but I can imagine how this would look if it was lit with several more and it really would make a wonderful night display. The lanterns are available in different sizes and shapes and are suitable for all occasions.
I am not sure how much the lanterns are to but as we were given this one but the prices and products are available online at www.skylantern.com. I did try to log into this address to get some prices but for some reason it was having difficulty loading the page. I will keep trying and if I do manage to get onto their site then I will add prices for you.
I do recommend this lantern as it is a wonderful addition to a party of celebration and makes a change from fireworks and you also get the added bonus of sending a wish to the stars.
Outdoor floating lanterns. Ideal for parties, weddings, or barbeques. www.skylanterns.com