Light as air

Sunday Times - - WEEK IN REVIEW - By Roberto Sch­midt

A crowd re­leases lanterns into the air as they cel­e­brate the Yee Peng fes­ti­val, also known as the fes­ti­val of lights, in Chi­ang Mai in north­ern Thai­land on Fri­day. The lanterns used dur­ing the fes­ti­val — cel­e­brated on the full moon of the 12th lu­nar month ev­ery year — are made from a thin fab­ric such as rice pa­per stretched over a frame to which a can­dle or fuel cell is at­tached. When the fuel cell is lit, the re­sult­ing hot air trapped in­side the lan­tern cre­ates enough lift for it to float into the sky. Be­cause they are a haz­ard to pass­ing air­craft, the lanterns are in­creas­ingly sub­ject to gov­ern­ment re­stric­tions. In Chi­ang Mai, au­thor­i­ties can­celled 78 flights in and out of Chi­ang Mai Air­port on Fri­day and yes­ter­day, and resched­uled 79 more flights.

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