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When You Wish Upon A Lantern Text by: Ellouise Cachero Photos by: Raine Mateo Calucag

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t’s 11:11. Make a wish. Fallen eye lash. Make a wish. Found a dandelion? Make a wish then blow it. You find a coin, drop it in a wishing well, then make a wish. These are just some ways of how you can make a wish. According to the dictionary, wish is defined as something “to have a desire for (as something unattainable).” Some wishes come true and some do not. There’s nothing wrong in making a wish. After all, you won’t lose anything. Wishing is an act that everybody does-- from a kid who wishes to have a Barbie doll or fire truck car for Christmas to a man who wishes to survive his illness and

live for more years. They say that for as long as you live, there is hope. This is why most people wish more than once. It’s for free anyway. Wishing is one way of expressing your feelings. It’s something that people do because wishing gives them hope. You wish because you long for something and that longing will soon stop when your wish comes true. But some people wish for things that are attainable. Their wishes serve as goals they set for themselves. “I wish because I think I deserve more and I think I can push myself further to reach that goal,” a student said.

Yung wish, parang cherry on top lang siya nung greater goal na maabot mo yung nais mo,” he added. When you wish for something, you know that you will want to make it come true no matter how unattainable it is. Lately, one of the ways of wishing is through wishing lanterns. This fad came to the Philippines in 2010. People have been going to events that fly wishing lanterns not just to wish but to experience a different kind of feel. This trend came in mid last year. After the release of Disney’s movie Tangled that portrayed a sky lantern festival, release of wishing lanterns became hit in the Philippines.

What’s with Lanterns?

Wishing

Wishing lanterns, often called Sky lanterns, are like mini hot airballoons. They are biodegradable, non-flammable and easy to use. They create a visual effect that entices people on any special occasion. Wishing lanterns are released during night time to see different colors of lanterns light up in the sky. It is made of “oiled rice paper on a bamboo frame, and contain a small candle or fuel cell composed of a waxy flammable material.” When it is lit, the flame heats the air inside the lantern which makes it rise into the air.


For as long as the flame stays alight, the wishing lantern floats and sinks back to the ground after. To be part of the trend, one can make his or her own wishing lantern. All you need to have are tissue paper or oiled rice paper , glue, a ½ inch artist’s paint brush, thin wire, birthday candles, a bamboo or balsa wood hoop (or equally light alternative), scissors, an X-acto knife and wire cutters. There are many ways on how to create your own wishing lantern. Oh and don’t forget to come up with your wish list. Now, there are also different shapes of lanterns depending on your choice. You can also buy ready made wish lanterns for at least Php 70. The Birth of Lanterns Originally, sky lanterns aren’t for wishing. It was one of the most renowned folk activities during in Asia, particularly in China. Centuries ago, sky or wishing lanterns were used as signaling devices by armies. This function soon disappeared and became a way of conveying their wishes to the heavens. Folk locals believed that floating candles symbolizes poignancy and tranquility. Locals believed that when one releases a wish lantern, he/she would get rid of all her/his troubles. Sky lanterns are also called Khoom Fay or Kongming in other parts of Asia. Lantern festivals are held every year in China, Taiwan, Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore, Hongkong and Vietnam. ‘Trending’ in the Philippines Wishing lanterns come in different sizes, shapes, and colors. Filipinos love experimenting and trying out new things. After the release of Disney’s Tangled, a lot of people saw how cute and adorable wishing lanterns are. People just started releasing wishing lanterns every now and then. They post photos on Facebook or tweet about it on Twitter, making the Filipinos know about the fad. With the rise of globalization and technological advancement, it is now easy for people to know about things—especially when it comes to what’s in and what’s out. Information comes to internet users rapidly. In just a blink of an eye, information is right in the fingertips. Internet has been very useful in making anything viral. Take for instance the Department of Tourism’s new advertising campaign for the Philippines—“it’s more fun in the Philippines”. This has been going around the internet, especially in social networking sites

Sky lanterns being released in the sky.

“ I wish because I think I deserve more and I think I can push myself further to reach that goal.”

Students making their wishes before they release the sky lantern

for about two weeks now. New media plays a major role in making things trend. Where to Release One? Recently, during University of the Philippines’ annual lantern parade last December 16, the freshmen initiated the flying of sky or wishing lanterns right after the parade. To make it more exciting, lanterns should be released all at the same time. But during that time, it was released one by one making the people wait for everything to be released. Another one was held at the UP School of Economics the same day. Cheska Joson, third year journalism student experienced one of her firsts— releasing a wishing lantern. “The waiting was kinda exciting. Well di sabay sabay na light but you get the picture, almost all at the same time [yung pagrelease],” she said. Angelica Bulan, a student from the University of Santo Tomas said her experience felt like the on the movie Tangled. She released a wishing lantern last Christmas in Tagaytay. She said that she missed 11:11pm to wish so she, along with 3 friends, decided to buy a lantern for Php 100. When asked how she felt after releasing the lantern, she said that it was overwhelming. “Nakakaoverwhelm na

Heart-shaped sky/wishing lanterns during the the UP Lantern Parade 2011

nakakakilig,” she giggled. “Titignan mo talaga siya until di mo na siya madistinguish from the stars,” she added. She said that it was exciting to have released it all at the same time. Last November 11, 2011, the Banchetto-Megatent had a special event to celebrate 11-11-11. They had wishing lanterns that was bought at Php 100 each. They released all the lanterns at exactly 11:11pm. This event was just like the one in the movie Tangled and Yee Peng Festival in Thailand. A lot of people went to the event to feel the experience. There are many reasons to wish on a sky lantern. Once you experience it, you would want to wish more things. Although flying sky lanterns have been part of many traditions in Asian culture, it is only now that people start to be amused by the beauty and essence of it. Sky or wishing lanterns have also gained much popularity in other areas. Around 11,000 lanterns were released recently in Poland to celebrate Midsummers Night. Now, who wouldn’t want to have their own magical Disney moment?

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When You Wish Upon A Lantern