The sky lantern is a mini hot air balloon that has a long history to it. It was first used by the Chinese and was said to have invented by Zhuge Liang (181-234 AD), a military man who used it to summon help during battle.
Fast forward to over 2,000 years and the sky lantern is being used to mark different occasions. While there are some who use it to mark celebrations like weddings, there are those who use memorial sky lanterns to let go of deceased loved ones, allowing them to move on to the afterlife.
While the act of releasing in loving memory memorial sky lanterns is mostly symbolic, there is no doubt that it brings comfort to those left behind. Releasing colorful sky lanterns is a wonderful way to cap off a funeral or memorial service.
If you search for “memorial sky lanterns” online, you will see that there are many stores out there that offer these items. Most offer blank lanterns that you can customize with a poem for your departed loved one. If not a poem, then the name with a short message.
The good thing about sky lanterns is that they are cheap. The color you get depends on you. While you can never go wrong with white, don’t be afraid to buy different colors, especially if the deceased had a great personality. If your loved one had a favorite color, you could buy sky lanterns in that color too.
How should you release a sky lantern?
First, inform those who will be attending the funeral or memorial that sky lanterns will be available. Ask them to have a poem or a short statement ready to recite as they are releasing the lantern.
Whenever possible, hold the memorial service at dusk. It will add to the solemnness of the occasion. As the sun begins to set, light the lantern with a candle as you are speaking. When you are ready, release and watch it float away. Take the candle and give it to the person next to you.
Sky lanterns typically soar for up to ten minutes, enough time for friends and family to silently watch them float away.
How do you handle a sky lantern?
The first thing before illuminating a sky lantern would be to check the direction of the wind. Make sure that the lantern is fully extended and is not hanging sideways or is creased. You can do this by holding the top, gently lifting the lantern a couple of feet, and dropping it sharply. Air pressure inflates the lantern, so you don’t need to blow anything.
When you are ready to release, hold the lantern upright and then have someone else light the wick. The lantern should feel lighter after a few seconds, and gradually rise. Do not throw the lantern into the air – let it float on its own.
Where can you buy sky lanterns for memorials and funeral?
There are many places online you may shop for memorial sky lanterns. However, options are limited to plain lanterns. A great alternative to printed text is by having friends and family write a customized handwritten text for the departed loved one. These jumbo sized eco-friendly memorial sky lanterns are available online at Elegant Sparklers.
If you are conscious about how they impact the environment, you can – and should – buy sky lanterns that have no wires in them and are made of materials that are biodegradable. That way, when they fall to the ground, they will naturally join the earth.
Aside from their make and material, one other point to consider when buying floating lanterns is the size. There are jumbo-sized ones, and there are small ones. Before buying anything, make sure to check out the product specifications, so you only get the lantern that’s just the right size.