Lantern Festival, also called Yuan Xiao Festival, is a holiday celebrated in China and other Asian countries that honors deceased ancestors on the 15th day of the first month (Yuan) of the lunar calendar. The Lantern Festival promotes reconciliation, peace, and forgiveness. The holiday marks the first full moon of the new lunar year and the end of the Chinese New Year.
During the festival, houses and temples are festooned with colorful lanterns, often with riddles written on them. If the riddle is answered correctly, the solver earns a small gift. Festival celebrations also include lion and dragon dances, parades, and fireworks.
The Sky Lanterns are traditionally made from oiled rice paper on a bamboo frame, with a cross piece for holding a small candle. The sky lantern is only airborne for as long as the flame stays alight, after which the lantern sinks back to the ground.
It’s popular to release the Sky Lanterns near a body of water for reflection and safety purposes.