Of Mid-autumn festival, lanterns, candles and little arsonists

*fast fast change subject before I kena accused of vandalism, gangsterism and hooligan-ism plus auntie-sm*

So, I bought this paper lantern last night for RM5.90.  It came in a flat piece before we bended the wires.  My third son who is 10 years old asked me, “Is this how you play it?”  Holding the flatten fish and wave it like some dragon dance action.

Then, it dawned on me how much life was put on hold these years.  Previously with my two older sons, we had two new lanterns each year and these little arsonists will somehow burnt the lanterns to ashes and black wires.  It is how lanterns are supposed to be played, right?

Well, there was one year in 2001 when I was heavily pregnant with Vincent.  I remembered we did have a lantern for my #3.  He was 5 years old then so he probably had forgotten what real lanterns are.  It is a piece of paper, with a candle stuck in between and children carry them around the neighbourhood.  As soon as the parents aren’t watching, they will get it accidentally caught fire.  Then, with the balance candles, they will start a bonfire with twigs and leaves.

*POLITICALLY CORRECT COMMUNITY MESSAGE FIRST : Always supervise your children.  Playing with lantern and open fire is dangerous. It is a fire hazard.*  End of cheong-hei-ness.

So, after I gave birth to Vincent, life sort of went topsy-turvy and that’s why my #3 now did not even know how lanterns are played.

I bought the lantern last night because I know it will be fun to take photos of it.  Moreover, it is time we get back to the same old routine of ‘buy lantern, burn lantern’.  Mid Autumn Festival is a [tag]Chinese[/tag] cultural festival which I believe has no religious tie to it.  Of course, there are still people praying to the moon.  In this age, people pray to everything, don’t they?  Even pinang trees.  Duh.

So, confession time.  Tell me how many lanterns did you intentionally burn when you were small?  If you are not Chinese, then, did you played with fire?  Nice eh?

I was a good girl and since we don’t have much money, the lantern was re-cycled each year.  Once it is over, my mother wrapped it in newspaper and keep for the next year.  My favourite is a rabbit.  When I was in Standard Six, I even made on with a Milo tin!

Oh ya, don’t give me those modern, ultra-man, power rangers battery operated craps.  They drive me up the wall with the never ending ‘It’s a small, small, world and we are all gays’ music box type of music.  I tell you, it is bad they bastard-ised the romantic full moon of 8th lunar month, 15th night with tiramisu mooncake and battery operated ahkua lanterns.  Give me back the good ole days of candles and high flameable lanterns plus tausar mooncakes.

30 thoughts on “Of Mid-autumn festival, lanterns, candles and little arsonists

  1. *praying to the evil pinang tree* lol
    3-4 laterns burned, fav: chicken latern
    btw, I just had cappucino + tiramisu mooncake 😀

  2. My mum hand-make me a lantern using pomelo skin 🙂
    (Btw is the green skin citrus fruit name pomelo??)

  3. ya la 9hai mia ppl!!! itu mooncake best best they goan add this add that! add till like 9hai ledi!!! puhniaboh!!

  4. haha the good old days … i remember we will have those wired ones and those paper ones, those paper ones are cheap ma, so we will burn them all after the festival … its gonna be a big bonfire afterwards, with neighbours complaining and all – haha

    i still remember my mom would never buy new ones everytime this time of the year arrives, but she will painstakingly use those plastic like shiny transparent papers and rewrap them all, not forgeting repainting them with eyes, scales(yeah coz i used to have a lot of fishes tanglung) then we would have a fun of the time with it …

    i remember my granmother on my mothers side was the ones who did all the rewrapping stuff back thenbefore my mom took over it …

    those days …

  5. about a month or so before the festival, we would be taught to make lanterns during art & craft class in school. so damn proud to carry them eventhough it was out of shape and never looked like the duck it was suppose to be. LOL

  6. Oh my God! I remember those annoying battery operated lanterns. My dad bought one for my nephew some years back when he was just 3 yrs old. Being the obsessive compulsive disorder (eh, joking only ah, in case my sister is reading this) kid that he is, he had to play that “It’s a small, small world” tune over and over and over….and basically just drove everyone crazy. In the end I tunggang-terbalik the batteries and told him his constant playing had depleted the batteries. Promises to buy new batteries were never fulfilled. Hahaha.

  7. Oh… here comes the time to eat mooncake again…Don`t really like it. Too sweetlah! Happy my children are way too grown up to carry lantern… or else I will be too busy keeping an eye on their every move else they burn up the house or themslves..ha ha.. I use to get my finger burn too helping them fix the candle…(backache,..hotflushes..smokey eyes u name it!..) But anyway it is fun experiencing the happiness,anxiety, that u go thru with ur kids. Last year I make many variety of jelly mooncakes with cheese fillings..(more healthy…) but lazy this year..

  8. i never got to play lanterns in my childhood! 🙁 but i sure loved setting fire to everything! once i nearly burnt my next door bulding down! but thats another story…

  9. burn..arson..fire? panic panic panic!

    Geez..don’t tell me my kid is gonna burn my RM7.90 car lantern I bought for him. I’m definitely am gonna be a stingy pot and try to save it for years to come. Freaking RM7.90 man!!!! 😉

  10. I usually have fishes ( is that the normal one???) Only had a rooster once, then a dragon ( then some kaypoh said ” not for girl lah!” 🙁 , then a really weird -push roller type–you push the stroller and the two durians on top will spin.
    BTW when is moon cake festival???

  11. Haha,favourite lantern was the paper type where you can pull the paper up and stuck the candle in between. I like it coz it’s traditional and at least…….well,original. Mooncake favourite was tausar type.I dont like all those battery operated lantern and also weird flavour mooncake coz all those seem so fake. Dont you agree?? Btw,I used to intentionally burn all my lantern when i was younger. Now no more la coz mom say wan keep till next year. =p. (dont think i’m playing lantern summore next year) =p

  12. Joe – Wuah…how old are you ah? 12 yrs old ah? LOL.

    romantic – Two durians? Hahaha, I can’t seem to visualise that but it sounds funny.

    mott – RM7.90? Wuah…mine is only RM5.90, the cheapest and smallest of the lot.

    wuching – Play with fire, sure get burn. Life’s lesson eh?

    Bryan – Apalah, I thot only old folks like us like old stuffs. Try cheese flavour lah.

    molly – Really? Jelly with cheese? Wow, sounds good. I like those ‘ping pei’ (snow-skin) variety from Foh San but it is not on sale yet. Now, they are pushing Omochi (the Japanese type?). I bought a packet last night, ok also la.

    cooking4STP – Ya, those music tends to ingrain into our mind, close eye to sleep also still can hear it ‘tiit, tiit, tiit….’

    nyonyapenang – You know what? Last year, I went to this lantern festival by these line dancers lau-ee. OMG, they really can pose hiao-hiao with their lanterns. Dunno where my post is, somewhere on this blog. Think only, my ‘moh kui chang’ hair stands on end. Hope I don’t turn out like that next time.

    earl-ku – Have you tried sprinkling water on the paper, causing it to wrinkles and then, heat it with candles and see it tighten again. Syok ler. Except that during those heating up session, sure kena burn. Hahaha.

    wingz – You said you PMS pinish liao, still so PMS ah? Haiyor…this one is not PMS liao, this one is andro-pause (male menopause). ROTFLMAO!

    sylvia – Ya, pomelo. Like that mah very much like Halloween pumpkin hor? Never seen before but I did make hat with pomelo skin. Pomelo is a must for prayers during 8-15.

  13. last time used to play with this lantern. damn difficult to light (still very young ma), so always try to find some straw, and burn then and let the damn thing drip on the candle…(of course it will drip with the straw still burning). Once kena the leg, auuuu, damn hot! Those young days…
    eh… got mooncake perasa dragon fruit lo ( pitaya ? )

  14. indeed, the blasphemy… battery operated lanterns! prune with wolfberries mooncake! i just feel like tearing out my hair!

  15. Wuching: Now I know why U were exiled to australia..u’re a convicted arsonist that nearly burned down Tiong Hua Road 😛 hahahahahahaha (and now I know why you are coming back, cos YB Robert Lau wants u to finish the job so he can relocate all those people from that swamp marsh)

    Never played with Lanterns, came from a mixed race family where we celebrate everything in our own different ways, lantern festival meant eating mooncakes and not carrying lanterns around hahaha…I agree with Aunty..what’s with those multi-flavoured mooncakes…I still prefer the old type mooncakes and my all time favourite is the pure lotus paste with single yolk thinggy….though I recalled one cousins who actually ordered mooncakes from Overseas restaurant with 3 yolks!!! My dad commented that she might as well eat salted egg yolks instead hahahaha

  16. Mine REALLY, HONESTLY caught fire once. This is because when putting it down and you’re not careful, the string gets caught in the line of fire *pun fully intended* and starts to burn everything and there is nothing you can do to stop it.

    Otherwise, we’d recycle the lantern to the next year by keeping it in the store room. Very useful for power failures too. Have nice romantic lanterns to hang in the house. The longest i had the lantern was 3-4 years after which it needed replacing. Never burned a lantern intentionally. I was a good boy.

  17. We used to cut the pomelo nicely into half so that we can cook poridge using water n sand..my bro will catch worms and whatever he can find..to make the fire we’ll get our stupid neighbour to steal her mom’s mahjong and use it as firestarter..can burn very very long time..
    Lantern festival is like candle celebration..where we light up alot alot of candles on the gates and everywhere..after that susah la..have to scrape off one by one..

  18. I still remember, the lifely pattern from the candles light, the process replacing candles, peaking the festival by burning lantern,etc. Those sissy wind proof battery operated bulb can never give the same excitement. Though it is costly annual events for parent in the 70’s.

  19. Ya….it’s did look like Halloween pumpkin. That was 10 yrs ago and my mum refuse to make any for me now. If she will im gonna snap it and keep for remembrance !

  20. Well, to be truthful, I was the eldest in the generation for my family, and was always made the ‘person in charged’ when it was new year (firecrackers) or midautumn(candles & lanterns) when we were younger… But without the knowledge of the adults, I was always agreeable to all mischiefs….

    We did burn lanterns on purpose, but the fun part of midautumn was not the lantern, but more of the candles… We used to either stick the candles on the gate and light them up, and also stick few boxes of candles together into a huge bundle on the floor, and light it up together, see it burn with a big fire…. then play with the wax that is left behind…. hehehe

    Now, THAT’s memory… 😀
    I would have to think twice few years later before allowing my young cousins or mischievious brothers take my little daughter out to play ‘lantern’ eh? hahaha

  21. That is so true la! Those stupid battery-operated power rangers lanterns really are annoying!! Truly spoils the whole romantic mood of watching the children set the paper lanterns on fire under the moon, doesn’t it?

    Well, I’ve always loved burning those pretty little pull-up paper lanterns. Can’t rememer how many I burnt when I was younger but I guess it was kinda alot. Maybe I’ll start a campfire with it this year!

  22. my family was poor when i was young, so intentionally burning lanterns has never crossed my mind. So i have one beautiful lantern that i play with each year with care. And at the end of the festival, my mum would store it carefully and take it out for us to play with the following year. My neighbour’s kid will have a new lantern each year, but my sis and i will always be playing with the same one. But i did accidentally burnt a few of those paper fold up lanterns that we hang around the house. Those are the cheap ones that comes in 10s or so in a packet.

  23. was google-ing for those traditional lantern, and came across your blog. hahaha. i miss this kind of “glass” paper latern. very rare nowadays.

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