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eight thousand floating fireballs over poland
July 1, 2011 3:25 PM   Subscribe

To celebrate the recent summer solstice, residents of Poznań, Poland gathered to break the country’s record for releasing paper lanterns by setting 8,000 of the glowing lights aloft. More. (via)

(Previously)
posted by crunchland (39 comments total) 35 users marked this as a favorite

 
How to make your own chinese sky lantern.
posted by crunchland at 3:27 PM on July 1, 2011


Stunning, thanks!
posted by filthy light thief at 3:29 PM on July 1, 2011


Polish is one of the greatest languages to look at in the world. Lampiony is my new favorite word.
posted by Lipstick Thespian at 3:33 PM on July 1, 2011


I favorited this even before clicking the link - just because it's such a lovely idea.

But it looks even more wonderful than I imagined. Thank you for posting this.
posted by Trurl at 3:36 PM on July 1, 2011


I love these soooo much.

Much like fireworks I think the beauty and wonder of these is highly undervalued in the mental calculus about occasionally burning someone's house down.

Sometimes humans just do something great, and this is one of those times.
posted by poe at 3:40 PM on July 1, 2011 [1 favorite]


They may look pretty for a short while but, like balloons, these lanterns are litter which just go up first before they come down to be someone else's problem or responsibility to dispose of.
posted by essexjan at 3:45 PM on July 1, 2011


And that, my friends, is what is known as "a buzz kill."
posted by crunchland at 3:48 PM on July 1, 2011 [20 favorites]


This view is mesmerising.
posted by fire&wings at 3:56 PM on July 1, 2011 [2 favorites]


@essexjan: Those lanterns are probably going to land in Germany anyway. No love lost between those two...
posted by Renoroc at 4:03 PM on July 1, 2011


previously (with poetry)
posted by puny human at 4:09 PM on July 1, 2011


Now, if only the King and Queen could find that lost princess...
posted by thanotopsis at 4:20 PM on July 1, 2011 [4 favorites]


Drifting sky fire = someone's house is going to burn....

I hope not.
posted by Hoosier Prospector at 4:24 PM on July 1, 2011


I wish I could enjoy the ephemeral beauty of that clip. But I'm in Arizona, which is currently on fire. The only thing I can think of when watching that is "AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!! STOPSTOPSTOPSTOPSTOP!!!"
posted by MrVisible at 4:34 PM on July 1, 2011 [3 favorites]


beautiful. thanks for sharing.

-still photos and HD video
-more photos
posted by FreelanceBureaucrat at 4:35 PM on July 1, 2011


Jeez, hold the freaking camera still!

essexjan, seeing this thread made me immediately think of the danger posed to animals who eat the wires. I hope these were the environmentally safe ones made with wool.
posted by Specklet at 4:36 PM on July 1, 2011


I saw Radiohead in Poznan in 2009. Poznan has a very pleasant old central square. I also learned how to pronounce Żywiec properly.
posted by Decani at 4:37 PM on July 1, 2011 [1 favorite]


Wow, that s beautiful.
posted by SLC Mom at 5:09 PM on July 1, 2011


Holy crap, that shit in Tangled was real? Amazing.
posted by mathowie at 5:27 PM on July 1, 2011


Oh, I'm so tempted to make a terrible pun

Mossed rezizt
No, Kant

about the children being led out of town by the Fried Paper of Poznan.
posted by Twang at 5:51 PM on July 1, 2011 [1 favorite]


Man, that's pretty. I bet it was even more so in person.

And to address my fellow worry-warts: I guessing/hoping where they're doing this it's wet enough that wild fire isn't such a huge issue.

I kept thinking about all the people (and kid sized people) in that huge crowd. I saw at least one balloon in the linked video catch fire and fall. It would really suck to have one of those land in your hair while you were looking the other way. If I organized something like this I'd want barrels of water or extinguishers every 10 feet or so, first aid crews, fire trucks, etc. Statistically speaking at least one person in that massive crowd probably suffered a minor burn injury.

I also grew up in the US southwest where it's often too dry. Fireworks, thrown cigarette butts and even campfires scare the shit out of me most of the time. It took an entire year of living in the Pacific NW to stop thinking "All of these mounds of green stuff are going to turn brown and then burn any day now! Haven't people here heard of brush clearing!?"

Sure, Washington has forest fires but it doesn't seem to have the sort of spontaneously combusting brushfires that happen in California.

As for the litter - it looks like they're using paper balloons instead of plastic. It doesn't look like a bamboo or balsawood frame, but maybe just the center piece with the wick is metal. Metal wires aren't such a huge issue. They'll rust quickly. I know cows will eat bits of metal - but that's usually only if it's chopped up in their hay or ground forage, so I'm not so sure about most wildlife trying to eat a large piece of wire. The wicking they're using would have to be wool or cotton because plastic would melt.

posted by loquacious at 6:28 PM on July 1, 2011


They picked the perfect time of day to release them too. Well done.
posted by nathancaswell at 6:53 PM on July 1, 2011


These things generate a lot of "UFO" sightings. It's better to release a paper lantern than a helium filled kids balloon, at least they don't land in the ocean and get eaten by turtles.
posted by joannemullen at 7:07 PM on July 1, 2011


Putting those into a river, like the Japanese do, is a beautiful idea. Putting those into the air is insanity. Are they trying to start a hundred fires?
posted by Chocolate Pickle at 7:10 PM on July 1, 2011


Here's another exceptional video from the same event.
posted by crunchland at 7:23 PM on July 1, 2011


The occasion isn't quite exactly the summer solstice — it's Noc Kupały, one of the Christian saints' days with the most explicit ties to folk religion in Eastern Europe. Traditionally, young celebrants would leap over bonfires as a demonstration of their daring and youthful vigor. Unmarried girls would also send wreaths with lit candles floating on water, as a fortune-telling ritual.

This night is also when the ominous fern blooms. Folk tales and stories are divided on whether the flower grants wishes or dooms one to an eternity in hell.

For a literary treatment, there's some of Gogol's Ukrainian tales collected in Evenings on a Farm Near Dikanka and the related short story "Viy."
posted by Nomyte at 7:35 PM on July 1, 2011 [1 favorite]


Statistically speaking at least one person in that massive crowd probably suffered a minor burn injury.
posted by longsleeves at 8:51 PM on July 1, 2011


Meant to add "cite"
posted by longsleeves at 8:53 PM on July 1, 2011


I love this, fire hazard or not.

I also couldn't help imaging the poor folks who live down-wind of the event, and didn't get the memo: "Awful lot of stars out tonight, hon -- HOLY SHIT THEY'RE COMING FOR US".
posted by auto-correct at 8:54 PM on July 1, 2011


*sigh* So lovely and mesmerizing. I would have loved to have been there to see it in person.
posted by vespertine at 10:09 PM on July 1, 2011


These are very dangerous; I was injured by one once when I was maybe 10 years old. My cousin used to make these. One time, on my mom's birthday, we went outside to see him set it off. Because it was cold out, most of the extended family stayed inside to watch with the lights off, but I was outside. It was so exciting, I ran inside to tell everyone what I saw, and I went right through a plate glass window. Somehow, I only got a cut on my pinky. In conclusion, floating fireballs are dangerous.
posted by jewzilla at 10:22 PM on July 1, 2011 [2 favorites]


Seems like the fire hazard may be less than you think. The things don't come down until the fire has burned out.
posted by charlesminus at 11:16 PM on July 1, 2011


Jeez, hold the freaking camera still!
To be fair, they have to face away and film over their shoulder.
posted by fullerine at 1:16 AM on July 2, 2011


There aren't farms in Poland...are there?
posted by Pilly at 4:03 AM on July 2, 2011


In other news, a small town in Poland burned to the ground yesterday, when strong winds...
posted by Thorzdad at 6:42 AM on July 2, 2011


The DIY link is a lot of effort - get a dry cleaning thin plastic garment bag, some super glue, a couple of thin sticks, wax impregnated paper,and you are good to go within 15 minutes.
posted by Meatbomb at 6:47 AM on July 2, 2011


Seems like the fire hazard may be less than you think. The things don't come down until the fire has burned out.

In principle. In practice, they have caused crop fires, industrial fires, house fires, garden fires and a fire that killed a ten year old boy.

Metal wires aren't such a huge issue. They'll rust quickly. I know cows will eat bits of metal - but that's usually only if it's chopped up in their hay or ground forage, so I'm not so sure about most wildlife trying to eat a large piece of wire.

The wire can get chopped up when the grass it lands in is processed for winter feed. It can also be eaten whole by cattle.

There's no point trying to deny the risks these things pose - they are clearly there. The interesting question is how this risk compares to other similar items, such as fireworks. Societies tend to be more risk-averse about things that are new to them and less tolerant of risk that is borne by selected groups, rather than the population at large. If the threat to animals can be removed by using different materials, it will be interesting to see if the occasional fire will be tolerated or not.

I also learned how to pronounce Żywiec properly.

In order to ensure you ordered anything other than the worst beer in Poland, I hope.
posted by Busy Old Fool at 1:05 PM on July 2, 2011 [2 favorites]


Tyskie is worse.
posted by Meatbomb at 4:12 PM on July 2, 2011


These are so lovely. I would love to set them off over a lake. I wish they'd lowered the street lights for the event.
posted by theora55 at 7:43 PM on July 2, 2011


Tyskie is worse.

Subjective, of course, but among two unrelated groups of friends in different Polish cities, the consensus regarding the big national brands was Okocim -> Lech -> Tyskie/EB -> Zywiec. However, since I'm rarely in bars these days, I can be mainly found drinking tasty local niepasteryzowane brews at home.
posted by Busy Old Fool at 2:44 PM on July 3, 2011 [1 favorite]


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