Thursday, June 29, 2006

Light Up

We could not afford moon cakes and I can’t remember eating moon cakes during mid autumn festival or moon cake festival except for the little cute piglet pastry – a pastry that resembled a piglet lying inside a basket. For us, Mid autumn festival was a sort of ‘evil’ as we played pranks on those excited children swinging their lanterns.

There were two types of lanterns in those days. The cheap ones were made of paper somewhat like a can with bellows. Those who could afford go for the dazzling design – make of colourful cellophane draped over bamboo frames with a holder for the candle in the centre. The evenings leading to the fifteen day of the eight-month of the lunar year became alive with bright colourful lanterns climaxing on the night of the full moon.

We couldn’t afford lanterns and beside paper lanterns aren’t much fun for us as they burnt easily. For us, a lantern had got to be durable and we came up with a brilliant design.

Made from empty milk powder can, we pierced two holes opposite of each other at the top and strung a wire across. The can was sliced with as many grooves as possible lengthwise with a can opener and pressed down, looking somewhat like a bird cage. All kinds of flammable materials are stuffed inside the can to fuel this lantern and using a bamboo stick to hold the wire, and we got yourselves a metal lantern.

Our metal lanterns came in all sizes and shapes. They looked mean and won't get burnt like the traditional lanterns.

As we mingled with other children in the lantern procession, we would intentionally bump their lanterns and watched the children screamed in horror as their lantern went up in flames.

Been competitive, our minds were stretched when we tried to outdo each other.

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