World’s Best Lantern Festivals

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Around the world, lantern festivals are defined by the illumination of various objects, ranging from rice paper floaters to flickering airborne luminaries to grounded candlelit objects. Each festival, whether religious or culturally traditional, has a deeper meaning. Lantern festivals, on the other hand, are centered on peace and hope. You’ve seen one lantern event, but not all of them. Each has its own atmosphere and way of life, many of which would be once-in-a-lifetime experiences. These are the world’s best lantern festivals.

Marine Day Lantern Festival, Tokyo

marine day lantern festival tokyo

The Marine Day Lantern Festival in Tokyo celebrates the beauty of the oceans by lighting up Odaiba Beach Front Park. Paper bag lanterns are shaped into flowers and other lovely designs that can be seen from a distance. In the distance, boats sail by, and a few food vendors sell snacks for the occasion.

St. John’s Night, Poland

st. johns night poland

St. John’s Night, also known as Noc Kupaly, is celebrated in June in Poznan, Poland, where the shortest night of the year is observed. Fertility and well wishes are among the themes, and people jump through herbed fires and throw flaming wreaths into the water—this is extreme stuff. But everything comes to a halt when 8,000 lanterns are said to float towards the night’s stars.

Hoi An Lantern Festival, Vietnam

hoi an lantern festival vietnam

If you want to visit Vietnam’s Hoi An Lantern Festival, you won’t have to wait long because it takes place each month during the full moon. Rather than being launched into the sky, artist-designed lanterns hang throughout the town, adding ambient light via candles. Some float down the peaceful river, and guests can even hop aboard a sampan, or traditional canoe, for the best views.

Rise Lantern Festival, Las Vegas

rise lantern festival las vegas

The Rise Lantern Festival takes place in October, just when you thought things couldn’t get any brighter in Las Vegas. Musical entertainment builds up to the moment when everyone lights their lanterns into the Nevada sky, each with their own written message. Despite being completely biodegradable, the floating lights are still collected after the festivities.

Diwali – The Festival of Lights, India

woman hand lighting diyas during diwali,varanasi,uttar pradesh,india.

Diwali – The Festival of Lights in India is held in the fall and lasts four days. It is likely the most important holiday in the country, comparable to the significance of Christmas in the United States. Clay lanterns line the walkways, people exchange gifts, and burning symbolic figures ward off demons.

Pingxi Lantern Festival, Taiwan

pingxi lantern festival taiwan

The Pingxi Lantern Festival, held just outside of Taipei, Taiwan, is one of the most magical things you will ever see. Hundreds of lanterns are inscribed with personal wishes using a calligraphy pen and then released into the sky. While the event takes place in February, lantern shops in Pingxi allow visitors to make a lantern at any time of year because it is the only place that does so. Locals collect debris after it lands and can exchange it for items such as toilet paper.

Sky Lantern Festival and Water Lantern Festival, Utah

sky lantern festival and water lantern festival utah

In May, Salt Lake City hosts a spectacular Sky Lantern Festival complete with music, food, and the big lantern release. The Salt Lake City/Ogden Water Lantern Festival will take place in May, and countless luminaries will, of course, glide across the water. The peaceful gathering will emphasize positivity, community, and reflection. The lanterns are completely eco-friendly, and attendees can personalize them with messages.

Loy Krathong and Yi Peng, Thailand

loy krathong and yi peng thailand

In November, two lantern festivals transform Thailand into a twinkling wonderland. Loy Krathong is celebrated in Chiang Mai, Sukhothai, and Bangkok by releasing floating lotus baskets filled with candles into the waters. Yi Peng is more common in the north, and it occurs on the same day as the latter. This event, however, is defined by sky lanterns made of bamboo and rice paper.

Spring Lantern Festival, China

spring lantern festival china

China’s Spring Lantern Festival is held in February to commemorate the end of the Chinese New Year. It is a culturally significant national event that is celebrated across the country. From Shanghai to Guangzhou, official festivals include everything from hanging lanterns that illuminate the entire city to lanterns inscribed with messages and sent floating into the sky. Sweet dumplings filled with delectable ingredients such as sesame and rose are a popular treat, and lion dances are performed in the streets.

Floating Lantern Festival, Washington D.C.

floating lantern festival washington d.c.

The Floating Lantern Festival in Washington D.C. is organized by the same group that organizes the Salt Lake City/Ogden event. As a result, guests will do the same by decorating beautiful, sustainably constructed luminaries with a message of hope and peace—something we could all use a little more of these days.

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