How Big is a Sky Lantern?

Sky lantern sizes are usually around 46 cm x 90 cm, but there are many that measure 15 x 32 x 24 inches. These are also called Kongming Lanterns. They are also known as fire balloons and sky candles.


These are paper airborne objects. They are very popular in Asia. These objects are set on a bamboo frame. Made from oiled rice paper, they have a fuel cell or candle or other flammable material. When the object is ignited, the fire warms the air within the structure.

The density goes down, causing the object to float in the air. As long as the object is lit up, the lantern will stay in the air. The principle holds true regardless of the sky lantern sizes.


Legends state the Kongming Lantern was created by Zhuge Liang, the famous Chinese sage. He was also known as Kongming, after whom the sky candle is named. During the third century, the sky candle was used as a signaling balloon. There are also reports it was employed as a spy device.

There are variations to this story. Some historians believe the name is derived from the Kongming hat. Many of the lanterns use these hats.

The Sky Candles in Festivals

While sometimes used in wars, the lanterns were incorporated in carnivals. This happened because the lanterns became very popular among children. Eventually the sky candles were used in events like the Lantern Festivals and the Chinese Mid-Autumn festivals. In Thailand, these devices are very popular.

They are especially popular in the Yi Peng festival. This takes place at the full moon of the Lanna calendar’s second month. At the Yi Peng festival, the lanterns are sent into the air. Their design is such they look like fluorescent jellyfish floating in the air.

Some of the most beautiful are those at Chiang Mai the old capital of the kingdom of Lanna. The lanterns here are constructed from rice paper or another thin fabric.


Because these lanterns have flames, there is always the risk of it catching fire. Many designers also advise against launching when the wind is blowing hard.

Some farmers have also complained that livestock accidentally swallow the objects when they land. For these reasons, their use can be restricted during specific times of the year.

Before you check the sky lantern sizes, be certain that it is legal to use them. In some countries, use of these devices is limited. In some places it is actually illegal.

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