New Year’s Eve in Chiang Mai is a holiday that is treated by the locals in the manner that we regard Christmas. It’s a joyous occasion where people get to get with their families, celebrate, and make wishes for a prosperous and happy year ahead. One of these traditions involves lighting a lantern and releasing it into the sky. On the day of/in the days leading up to the big day, vendors will be selling these collapsed paper bags with a wick that is shaped like a doughnut. This is what you and thousands of people will be sending into the sky en masse on New Year’s Eve in Chiang Mai …
To send your lantern into the ether, unfurl it, then light the wick, which has been pre-primed with an accelerant that will keep it lit for a good long while. Next, it won’t fly away until the air within the lantern is hot enough to provide the upward thrust to keep it rising. Many people get impatient and let theirs go way too early, leading to it hovering near the ground, and sadly, due to the moat present in the main area of Chiang Mai, splashing down in the water, possibly leading to a year of bad luck 😛
Eventually though, the heat will have built up to a point where you can let it blast off (3-5 minutes is usually enough time). Off into the sky it will go, along with thousands of others … before the law of gravity takes over and begins raining fire and extinguished lanterns on the surrounding neighbourhoods! 😛
Have you ever launched paper lanterns into the sky, be it in Thailand or elsewhere in the world? Tell us about it below!