10,000 lanterns fly into record book in Indonesia

AP News
Posted: Dec 06, 2009 11:56 PM

An ecumenical group launched more than 10,000 twinkling paper lanterns into the night sky from a beach in Indonesia, setting a world record, officials said Monday.

The exact number of the white paper lanterns that floated gently above Carnaval Beach in the capital, Jakarta, late Saturday was to be determined later Monday after Guinness World Records officials figured out how many each of the 7,000 participants launched, said organizer Yamal Hasmanan of Freedom Faithnet Global.

However, it was apparent that the previous mark of 3,682 set in Colombia last Jan. 10 had been shattered.

Officials have already presented the participants with certificates stating that a world record was set for flying the most sky lanterns simultaneously, Guinness adjudicator Lucia Sinigagliesi said.

With the night unusually clear and still for the early weeks of Indonesia's rainy season, the crowd cheered as each of the fragile, glowing paper balloons took to the sky.

The flying lantern is a Chinese tradition. It is essentially a paper bag with a block of paraffin with a wick suspended by wire across the opening. The lantern lifts when the wick is lit, warming the air inside like a hot air balloon.

Freedom Faithnet Global said it organized the lantern release as a symbol of hope and prayer as part of annual celebrations. This year's celebrations have an environmental focus.