20 Sep 2021
Of all the lanterns that were bought for me in my childhood, I remember the rabbit lantern best for the following reasons:
Firstly, my dad bought it. Secondly I was born in the year of the hare. Thirdly, its frame was wrapped in shredded white crepe paper to simulate fur. Fourthly, and most importantly, the whole lantern was set ablaze as soon as the candle that was meant to light it from within tilted, causing fire to meet paper.
Did the wire holding the candle in place not do its job? Or was my dad too clumsy in the lighting ceremony?
You can imagine the shock & pain of a 5 year old seeing her beloved rabbit lantern which she had been hugging all afternoon going up in flames and turning into ashes in seconds.
I was inconsolable. My young dad was traumatised.
In the mid-autumn festivals that followed, he would buy only battery operated lanterns for my brother and I. And no more crepe paper rabbits!
This evening I was pleasantly surprised to find that the lantern design that I loved half a century ago still exists!
The current model now has wheels, presumably for greater stability to minimise accidents like mine.
Come tomorrow night, I’m sure somewhere in some homes celebrating mid-autumn, paper lanterns will still catch fire and go up in flames.
There will be tears over the destruction & loss of a much loved and perhaps even irreplaceable design, but that shall not keep us from seeking solutions to continue the celebration.