What Are Chinese Lanterns?
Chinese lanterns are more than the brightly-colored, paper-wrapped frames commonly seen in gift shops. They are cultural artifacts with a long history. They come in simple and elaborate shapes such as balloons, cubes, animals and people. Moreover, the shape imparts symbolic meaning.Lighting the WayIn Chinese culture, lanterns are used to light the way for guests and the souls of ancestors.Ceremonial UsesTraditionally, lanterns with banners attached to them accompany burials, weddings and moves to a new residence. The banners have good wishes written on them.RiddlesHistorically, riddles were often pasted on lanterns that hung outside Chinese houses. When someone solved the riddle, he was given a small gift, such as firecrackers, a parcel of tea or a pencil.Parade LanternsSome parade lanterns are extremely elaborate. Mounted on complicated bamboo frames, they roll on the ground while the light remains upright in the middle. Some also have rotating fixtures, which are moved by the heated