Every Chinese New year there is a lantern festival in Pingxi, Taiwan. Â Huge, person-sized lanterns are lit on fire and the heat sends hundreds of paper-mache lantern into the sky. I image it’s pretty beautiful. (Don’t ask where the burning wire lantern frame lands, I still haven’t figured that out.)
We have no plans to be anywhere near China during Chinese New Year as that would be my personal hell – a billion camera-happy people vacationing en masse led by screeching tour guides. But in Pingxi you can send a lantern wish at any time of year, so we seized our opportunity to send good wishes for the year of the Rabbit.
First you buy the giant paper lantern and write wishes all over it. Then you head over to the (active) train tracks and send it into the air. Â How many people can you wish for, really? Somewhere along the way I remember reading that it’s impossible to maintain more than 150 stable social relationships at one time. Honestly, I think I top out at 20 people, and couldn’t manage to fill up the entire lantern with enough wishes. (Hint:Write Big).
Well, the Chinese Lantern God must have been pissed that I didn’t send enough wishes into the air because the damn lantern blew up in my face.
(OK, we paid for fireworks and that’s what blew up. But the fuse was too short and they blew up on the ground. Â Very dangerous stuff, this Lantern wishing!)