Lanternfest: Sunday, Feb. 16 2003 at dusk, Prospect Park, Brooklyn, NY

what * where * when * how * printable

The Chinese Lantern Festival is celebrated on the fifteenth day of the New Year. This mini-festival will take place one day later, because Sunday is convenient.

Raphael adjusts his digital lantern

New: Photos from lanternfest 2003!
Photos from lanternfest 2002
Make a lantern. Bring it to the park around 5:30, just as the sun is setting, on Sunday the 16th. Admire all the pretty lanterns!

The only rule: NO FLAMES in the park. Please use a flashlight or chemical glow stick or other safe source of illumination.

You might also want to bring: a tall stick you can jab into the ground to hang up your lantern, or a hook to hang it from a tree branch. A camera. Snacks. Does anyone have a volleyball net? That could be a good place to hang lanterns.

Where: there is a nice little grove of trees just north of the Picnic House on the west side of Prospect Park. The map below may be helpful.

Why? Lanterns are pretty! Everyone loves lanterns! Please make a lantern and show it off. Afterwards, send me your photos for a lantern gallery on this site. ranjit(at)

Please let me know if you are likely to attend, so we can get an idea of how many to expect. ranjit(at)

Information about the Chinese Lantern Festival:

How to make lanterns:

  • No flames in the park-- please use a flashlight or glow stick.
  • Ideas for inspiration or theft:
  • tin can lanterns.
  • and more.
  • An eccentric interpretation of "lantern."
  • "Festival goers learned to make lantern."
  • Making a lantern of pottery.
  • How to make a turnip lantern! I sincerely hope that someone will bring a turnip lantern. Or a beet or a daikon.
    "The turnip lantern was probably the Celtic predecessor of the American Halloween pumpkin."
  • How to make a chinese paper lantern.
  • In the Pilipino language, a Chrismas lantern is called a parol.
  • Make a lantern from a papier-mache balloon.
  • Radio Shack sells a "safety flashlight" ($4) with a long yellow-green cone to diffuse the light. That could be a perfect core for a lantern.
  • Make your own paper cone and stick it on the flashlight to diffuse the light.
  • Lenara suggests using chemical glow sticks, which are available at camping and party supply stores.
  • Search the web.
  • Please send me ideas or links! ranjit(at)
My first lantern. Made with a Coke can and a pushpin. More flexible alternative to a flashlight: buy a bulb and battery holder from Radio Shack. You might also want a socket for the bulb. Find a bulb that matches the kind of batteries you plan to use: most of the Radio Shack bulbs specify the batteries on the package (e.g. "For C and D two-cell flashlights.")
Shopping report (jan 2001): I did some shopping on Canal Street. Pearl River Market at Broadway & Canal sells all kinds of beautiful paper lanterns on the 2nd floor. From $1 for tiny ones to $5-$10 for large plain lanterns to $50 for lovely hand-painted. (The large lantern had a mysterious warning on the package.) They also sell chemical glowsticks for $1.35 at the register nearest the lanterns.

Industrial Plastics at 309 Canal has glow sticks for $2 (behind the counter), and a huge variety of brightly colored plastic scraps and bits for 15 cents and up.

Canal Lighting at 317 Canal has battery powered light strings for $6 (white only).

Canal Plastics at 345 Canal has various colored films, battery powered strings of xmas lights for $4 (colored only), and glow sticks for $1.50 (small) and $2 (large); also the long thin glow laces.

Jung writes:
Hi I saw your posting just wanted to tell you, my friend owns

Leekan designs
93 Mercer Street
New York, NY

they are near the spring street station off of the number 6 train.

One blocks west of Broadway off of spring

Tell the people Jung recommended you to go there:


Here's an aerial photograph of the lantern grove (center right), in case you are arriving by helicopter.

another link

[map of Prospect Park: click to print]