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China: Around The Nation

Chinese farm set ablaze after sky lantern lands in field

Light launched during the Lantern Festival over the weekend and the fire caused huge damage to farmer’s strawberry crop, TV station reported

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 14 February, 2017, 3:49pm
UPDATED : Tuesday, 14 February, 2017, 3:49pm

Part of a strawberry farm was set ablaze in eastern China after a sky lantern landed in a field during the Lantern Festival over the weekend.

The fruit crop at the farm in Linyi in Shandong province was badly damaged in the fire on Saturday, leading to losses of over 400,000 yuan (US$58,000), Shandong Television reported.

Sky lanterns are hot air balloon lanterns made of paper with an opening at the bottom where a small fire is suspended. Many Chinese people set them afloat during the Lantern Festival as they symbolise couriers sending good wishes to the gods.

The owner of the farm found the remains of a lantern with a prayer for peace and good fortune written on it. The well-intentioned lantern ended up burning down four of sixteen sheds of strawberries at the farm.

“The loss of each shed cost me at least 100,000 yuan. So far it’s hard to even have a ballpark figure,” the farmer said.

He added he hoped the government would ban sky lanterns in the future.

Taiwan lantern makers go green for festival of lights

The report caused a stir on the internet, leading many social media users to urge the public to stop launching sky lanterns into the sky.

One person wrote: “When you make one wish, a farmer’s year of hard work could go down the drain. I am urging the public to stop sending sky lanterns. There are other ways to send prayers.”