Water Lanterns: Origins, Usage and Evolution  

by Pool Builders on 11-05-2012 in Articles

A river is flowing, and on the surface of the waters, you see a glowing light. It would, more likely than not, surprise you. But millions of people across the ancient world were accustomed such a sight. Many Asian cultures have been floating water lanterns in ponds and rivers since ages. For example, Toro Nagashi, a Japanese ceremony designed to honor and guide the dead, involves the ritual of floating.

Many Chinese celebrations also used such lanterns to add an otherworldly ambience to the celebrations. Similar to Toro Nagashi is Taiwan's Keelung Ghost Festival. Here too, the lanterns are seen as beacons of lights that guide spirits to their homes. Loi Krathon in Thailand and Lantern Floating Festival in Hawaii also involve the use of lanterns that glide smoothly on the surface of the water. Floating water lanterns are a part of an old tradition in many communities across the world.

Imagine the sight of thousands of lanterns lighting up a river while the sun is setting in the background. Water lanterns have been an integral part of Chinese, Japanese, Thai, and Vietnamese cultures and several generations of Asian people have watched and savored the spectacle of water lanterns glittering on the surfaces of lakes, rivers and ponds. Mostly, the water lanterns were released at the same time by a number of people. This would cause the waters to blaze up with life and light.

Over the years, water lanterns have evolved. They are now available in different sizes, shapes and colors, and they are made from all kinds of different materials. While people in the West do not subscribe to the beliefs that prompt millions of Asian people to float lanterns, they do recognize the aesthetic value of a light source floating on water.

Many swimming pools in US, UK and European countries are now decorated with such lanterns during pool parties. Many hotels employ lotus floating water lanterns are permanent decorations. There are many good reasons for this Asian festival decoration becoming popular among modern users who don't believe in any kind of rituals:

€ Aesthetically, there is no sight more soothing than floating lanterns
€ They help set the mood by creating a relaxed and fantastic aura
€ Water lanterns don't cost much and they come in different varieties
€ It is easy to find lanterns to suit a particular occasion or location
€ Users can browse and buy water lanterns online

Among all different water-based lanterns, lotus floating water lanterns are the most beloved of all. This lotus has always been a symbol of purity, beauty and openness in several cultures. And light has always been seen as a benevolent force that helps push away darkness and ignorance. When you combine the two in the form of floating lotus lanterns, you get something that generates good vibes and produces and ambient effect.

Today, people all over the world buy floating lanterns and use them as decorations for parties and celebrations. The main reasons why such lanterns have become popular all over the world in the modern times is the ease with which they can be stored, transported and set up. The glowing lanterns on a swimming pool emit a soft light that is perfect for pool parties, romantic dinners or informal and relaxed gatherings.

Just one hundred years ago, that was used only for religious ceremonies and festivals. They were always a part of a ritual and not a decoration. However, things have changed, and people from different countries in the world use them for decorating different occasions.

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