vesak lanterns

Last December I wrote about our mixed-bag of holiday celebrations and looked forward to including a Buddhist holiday in the mix. The full moon in May is Vesak: Buddha’s birthday, enlightenment day and death day. In 2006 we were in Sri Lanka for Vesak and bought lanterns to hang in the trees.


This year we’re in Germany where the streets are not lined with road-side lantern sellers. Thankfully, we have an expert lantern-maker here to help. We scoured the neighbourhood (and learned the German words for) bendy-straws, tissue paper, wire and glue.  Then Akka and her Achchi worked all afternoon to create two beautiful Vesak lanterns.

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Akka with her lanterns, Vesak 2006 and Vesak 2009:



The finished products, along with two rainbow lanterns that we did find in a toy shop (inside on the first night due to torrential downpour):


Today we travelled out to the edge of the city to join Das Buddhistische Haus‘ Vesak celebrations.



Then back home where we were able to hang the lanterns outside. The trouble with Vesak celebrations this far from the equator is it’s hard for the kids to stay up late enough to see the lanterns lit up in the dark. Akka put in a good effort but was in bed before the candlelight really shone through her creations.





6 responses to “vesak lanterns

  1. Alice Birnbaum


  2. Beautiful!!! Those lanterns are gorgeous! And the two pics of Akka are too cute!

  3. Lanterns are super cool. I can’t remember the details, but, when I was a kid in Colombia we would send off “globos” on a certain date (likely a Christian holiday). They were paper lanterns with a kerosene soaked wick. The sky would fill with coloured lanterns across the city. Very beautiful memory – mixed with the danger of fire hazards. There would always be flaming balls falling to the ground.

  4. Very cool lanterns! I would be interested in learning how you made them and reprinting the instructions in an online magazine for parents raising little global citizens, geared towards parenting around the world. Pls contact me for details! Thank you.

  5. Pingback: Vesak: Make a Paper Lantern | InCultureParent

  6. Pingback: how to make a Vesak lantern | Chapter Four

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