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Traditionally, sky lanterns are found in Asian cultures, where they are used as decorations during significant festivals and ceremonies. We, however, immediately saw them as perfect for use as a signaling device. Unfortunately, we were beaten to the punch by over 800 years.
Sky lanterns are often thought of as the first hot air balloons. Sometimes they are referred to as Kongming lanterns due to their apparent invention by Zhuge Liang, a Chinese military strategist and chancellor of the state in the Shu Han dynasty during the 3rd century. The name is thought to come from Liang’s Chinese style name, Kongming. He was known to use the lanterns as a military signaling device during warfare. Still, others speculate that sky lanterns were named after Liang not because he invented them, but due to their uncanny resemblance to a headdress that he was known to wear. Regardless of where they came from or how they obtained their name, sky lanterns are still around today and they work flawlessly.
As noted, sky lanterns are paper lanterns intended for flight. They are traditionally constructed from rice paper and include a bamboo frame. They always have some sort of fuel cell, typically a wax candle, that when lit fills the lantern with hot air. This causes a drop in density and allows the lantern to take flight. Once the candle burns out, the lantern returns to the ground. This has often been the cause for a number of safety and environmental concerns.
Because the lantern uses an open flame, many people fear for the damage they could cause by falling to the ground and coming in contact with a flammable surface. Typically, a sky lantern will not return to the ground until the candle has burned out and there is no longer a supply of hot air, which should serve to put some worries at ease. Additionally, some sky lanterns are not biodegradable and contain a wire frame that can be harmful to wildlife. Our sky lanterns are constructed from rice paper and bamboo and are marketed as being 100 percent biodegradable.
Anyway, enough about the history and causes for concern, it is time to get into the greatness that is the sky lantern. Our sky lanterns measure approximately 15 inches by 22.8 inches by 40.6 inches when inflated and weigh a meager 2.7 ounces. They are also available in nine different colors: red, orange, yellow, green, blue, purple, pink, neon pink and white. You will also be pleased to hear that these sky lanterns have been pre-treated and are fully flame retardant. We tested them so that you do not have to. By exposing the paper to an open flame, we have seen first-hand their unwillingness to ignite. This means that they are much safer for you to use than several other brands.
Using the sky lantern is quite simple and is best done by two people. To begin, hold the bamboo frame and swing the lantern so as to fill it with air. Once it is partially inflated, the lantern should be held upright while the fuel cell is ignited by a second person. You should allow the air to heat up inside the lantern for approximately 90 seconds while holding the bamboo frame. When ready for flight, the lantern will begin to tug and the paper will be hot to the touch.
The sky lantern can be used for just about anything. As noted, it is often used in Asian cultures during festivals and ceremonies. Keep the tradition alive and use them to decorate your next outdoor party. Or, you can go all the way back to the Shu Han dynasty and use the sky lantern as a signaling device. Flares and flare guns are pretty popular, but sky lanterns can get the job done at a fraction of the cost. Next time you go camping, bring some sky lanterns to signal people in your party that may be in another location. The best part is that they are great for both daytime and nighttime use. Consider the sky lantern for any of the following:
- Birthday parties
- Graduation ceremonies
- Business openings and promotions
- Signal device
- Much more…
Note: Sky lanterns are not a toy and safe handling is always the responsibility of the user. They should not be handled by children and should always be used under strict safety precautions. Remember, when dealing with an open flame there is always a potential fire hazard. Safety equipment, including but not limited to water, fire extinguishers, gloves and fireproof clothing should be close at hand in case of an emergency. Sky lanterns should never be used during windy conditions and flight paths should always be checked for trees, power lines and other hazards prior to launch. Never use sky lanterns in close proximity to airports or other areas in which they may be misinterpreted as a distress signal. As always, this product is used at your own risk. Keepshooting.com will not be held liable for any damage caused by misuse of this product.