Ukulele & Languages

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Language Fun : Chinese Wish Lantern

14 2010

I watched a few wish lanterns floating about in the night sky while visiting the city of Tianjin in China. Watching their red glow rise in the night was kind of mesmerizing and felt a bit magic. I was amazed at how high these paper lanterns could rise, and at how long they could float about. I was a bit concerned that they could set fire to something on their descent but there was no casualty to report on that night and the old quarters of Tianjin are still standing.

I did actually bring one of these lanterns home and I started reading the instructions on the packaging last weekend. Now, they are by far the funniest instructions I have ever read _ not that I have read very many, I usually can’t be bothered, but this once I thought what with the risk of setting fire to something and all, and decided to be wise.

I am glad I did read the instructions. They did not really help me find out how to light the lamp properly but they were highly entertaining, hilarious in fact.

I have serious doubts as to whether your eyesight will be good enough to make out the words, so here they are :

1. After the distribution of fuel to packaging equipment Kong Cross wire in the side of the field again deduction presses The fuel-pressure lock firmly.

2. A person Xu Yuan light take up a Top. Another person fuel ignited the four angle.

3. Wait for that the heat enough light, lanterns person lest loose. A top hand, changes grips under the light to encircle. Has when the lifting force may let go releases for flying.

4. Xu Yuan light rose slowly the sky, do not forget Wishing oh

Notice Item :

1. Should choose at the option open, calm environment released for flight. No fire ban in areas, the tall building the floor, and so on have covers under the thing to release for flight, must leave outside the airport 10 kilometers from flying.

2. Xu Yuan light can only be used for the distribution the special purpose of fuel prohibited by any burning Replace.

3. Xu Yuan light are on the rise, that of the flying, cannot the long time not put, and the Flight not to be append the foreign body.

4. Children must be under the custody of the adults use. [ooooh, this one can be highly misinterpreted]

Declaration : Xu Yuan light for the fire flying, because of environmental ingredient such is improper use of security incidents caused by the release of the commitment. Production enterprises, vendors, transport operators, without any responsibility. You use both, then you understand and accept on behalf of the declaration.


  1. Ray on the 19th of September 2010 @ 07:06

    This is a Direct Translation from the Chinese Language, which is why it would be grammatically incorrect :)

    By the way, “Xu Yuan” means “Making a Wish” :)

  2. Armelle Europe on the 19th of September 2010 @ 08:56

    Ray: I really love literal translations as they are the source of double entendres and other entertaining misunderstandings.
    Thanks for translating Xu Yuan, I wonder why they did not attempt direct translation on these two words :)

  3. Ray on the 20th of September 2010 @ 02:34

    In all likelihood, “Xu Yuan” is significant enough for them to retain its “original” form :)…

    In addition, “Xu Yuan” can have multiple forms when translated to English (beauty of the Chinese Language).

    e.g. Making a Wish, Make a Wish, Wishing, Wish, Wished etc…

  4. Armelle Europe on the 22nd of September 2010 @ 18:47

    Ray : thanks a lot for explaining the meanings of Xu Yuan. Now I understand why they did not bother to attempt a translation.

  5. Sanet on the 21st of September 2011 @ 13:49

    Does anyone know where I could buy some of these lantern in Gauteng? Any help would be appreciated. thanks Sanet

  6. Mukesh beriwal on the 22nd of October 2011 @ 18:10

    We are from india we feel new experiance thanks a lot

  7. Benny on the 26th of October 2011 @ 14:02

    How do make the fuel package stay on the string? What Kong Cross Wire means?

  8. Armelle Europe on the 4th of November 2011 @ 12:22

    Benny: The badly translated instructions might make you think that the whole process is very complicated but in fact, one person has to hold the lantern while another lights it. That’s all there is to it.

  9. Stacey W on the 27th of December 2011 @ 06:49

    i too thought the instructios were hilarious!! my friend brought me two of these for chrstmas and i am wondering where i can order some more. my son LOVED it and well so did i! it is neat to write your wish on the lantern before letting it go

  10. Armelle Europe on the 27th of December 2011 @ 12:05

    Stacey: there is definitely something magic in writing down a wish and watching it fly away in the sky.
    I think you may be able to order those lanterns from ebay. Try to search for Chinese Wish Lantern or sky lanterns.

  11. brian wood on the 19th of April 2012 @ 18:11

    check amazon to purchase.

  12. Armelle Europe on the 25th of April 2012 @ 12:18

    Brian : Thanks for the info. They can indeed be found on

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