Monday, February 17, 2014
Light The Sky We Did!
Lantern Festival as per Wikipedia - The Lantern Festival is a festival celebrated on the fifteenth day of the first month in the lunisolar year in the lunar calendar marking the last day of the lunar New Year celebration. During the Lantern Festival, children go out at night to temples carrying paper lanterns and solve riddles on the lanterns (simplified Chinese: 猜灯谜; traditional Chinese: 猜燈謎; Mandarin Pinyin: cāidēngmí; Jyutping: caai1dang1mai4).
In ancient times, the lanterns were fairly simple, and only the emperor and noblemen had large ornate ones . In modern times, lanterns have been embellished with many complex designs. For example, lanterns are now often made in the shape of animals. The lanterns can symbolize the people letting go of their past selves and getting new ones, which they will let go of the next year. The lanterns are almost always red to symbolize good fortune.
In Hong Kong, it is commercialized as the Chinese equivalent of Valentine's Day.
We chose the last day of the Chinese New Year to have our Light the Sky Lantern send off. This is often referred to as the Lantern Festival. I first have to say, thank you, thank you. We sold all but 20 Lanterns!!! That is amazing and we so appreciate the support! We chose to Light the Lanterns at the coast over the water to avoid all the rules and regulations of the city. I was not really into getting permits etc. Although at first I had this lovely plan of calling the city, getting permits, getting the local paper involved, having a big to do. Now after all is said and done, I know it all worked out how it was supposed to and we were right where we were meant to be the whole time.
So the week of February 14th I started getting the Lanterns ready. Writing the many names and messages that had been emailed to me on them so that every wish, dream, and prayer would be sent up. It was an honor. There were some that I cried tears over as I wrote, because they hit me that hard. There were so many children I prayed for as I wrote their names down. It was just truly an honor and blessing.
We headed to the coast mid-day on the 14th praying that the weather would stay dry and the wind would stay at bay so that we could light these Lanterns. I told my husband that I was feeling some anxiety as I did not want to let anybody down (people who had purchased). We made it to the coast just before dark and knew we better feed the munchkins some dinner as we were not sure how long it would take us to light 80 Lanterns. Now I have to also explain, we had been planning this trip for about a month. My brother and Sister in-law made plans also to come to the coast to help at the launch, I have many relative that live there that we were all going to gather and make this thing big. Little did we know God had other plans. Remember how I said it all worked out and we were all where we should be. Well my Grandfather had been sick and on that Friday, February 14th he took a real turn for the worse and we knew that he would be gaining his angel wings very shortly. I knew that all my family that originally wanted to be at the Lantern Lighting needed to be with their Father, my Grandfather. They were all right where they should be. A special lantern was lit that night. It brought such peace in a hard moment.
My Husband, Children, Brother, and Sister In-law went out to the beach, driving to a quiet, private place. We slowly started unfolding the lanterns and lighting them. Reading each name and letting me say a quiet prayer as each one rose to into the sky. All following the same path. They would float higher and higher until we could no longer see the light anymore. With only 3 of us lighting we were only able to get 3 or 4 up at the same time for the pictures, but I promise you it was beautiful. We could not believe the size of the lanterns and then as they rose the beauty. This was such a fun and special first fundraiser. We will remember and cherish it always. Again thank you to all who donated, prayed and shared our story. You are forever apart of our children's story and how they came home.
This fundraiser was also a blessing in disguise for our family this weekend. As it brought us all together in the same town as my Grandfather earned his wings early the next day, February 15th. He will be missed by so many. I loved that man. He was the strong, silent type unless something needed to be said. He bit my head to show his love and you may think it sounds weird, but I already miss it. Here he is pictured with a lot of the Legacy he left behind. He is right in the middle.