Celebrated at the end of the Chinese New Year, the Pingxi Sky Lantern Festival is a celebration of wishes and hopes for a brand new year released into the endless sky.
The festival was first conceived by Zhuge Liang during the Three Kingdoms period (AD 220-265), it was originally a sort of military transmitting system similar to those of beacon towers at the time. They were regarded as an earlier version of hot air balloons.
In the 19th century, the first Lantern Festivals were brought over to Taiwan. During the Spring planting season, lanterns were released into the sky as a form of prayer. During those days, marriage was seen as a way to “add sons” and increase the limited manpower of those times. Often, these paper lanterns would have things written on them like “make the harvest plentiful” or “may I have a son soon”.
Even many years later, people who attend the Pingxi Sky lantern Festival still write their wishes and hopes on these floating paper crafts before watching them fly away into the nights sky. These wishes will tide them in for the current year until the next, where even more beautiful, floating lanterns will carry the next generation of dreams.