I hadn’t heard of, or seen, sky lanterns until recently and am amazed at their simple beauty! What a great way to celebrate a special occasion or launch a special event (musical video link). They are made from biodegradable, flame resistant, oiled rice paper and bamboo and can be purchased in a variety of theme-designed patterns.
Of course, the lanterns can be a fire hazard and precautions should be taken accordingly. Reportedly, in the U.K. in 2010, a pedigree cow died after eating leftovers (pun intended!) from a lantern – apparently it takes 2-3 years for the metal wick to disintegrate. Since that time, the flame source has changed to flame-resistant wool (non-hazardous to livestock), so is now environmentally friendly!
What’s really cool, though, is that you can write a message, or drawn a design, on the paper to add a personal touch to a lantern. The lanterns supposedly stay lit airborne for 4-5 minutes, then begin falling slowly (for 3-4 minutes) during which time the flame goes out; they can reach a height of about 400-600 meters!
What a fun, unique way to make a special event even more beautiful and memorable!