With Mid-Autumn Festival right around the corner, we can look forward to seeing Hong Kong’s parks filled with colorful, quirky hand lanterns in celebration. As ubiquitous as the mooncake, lanterns have been associated with the festival since the Tang dynasty, possibly because of their traditional symbolization of fertility. All too appropriate for a harvest festival. The lanterns also serve a practical purpose of lighting the way as friends and family stay up to appreciate the full moon late into the night.
In the past, paper lanterns were lit by candlelight. But given safety concerns, these days, you’re more likely to see plastic versions with battery-powered lights in an array of designs.