There are many myths to explain the origin of the Chinese lanterns, but one that sticks out the most is that they represent Buddha's power to dispel darkness. The story goes that during the first century, Emperor Mingdi sent a scholar to India for Buddhist scriptures and, upon the scholar's return, the Emperor had a temple built to house the scriptures. He had lanterns displayed to keep the darkness away.
The Chinese Lantern Festival takes place on the 15th day of the first lunar month in the Chinese New Year. Lanterns can vary in color, although red is the most common color, and each color has its own meaning. For example, red represents happiness and good luck, white represents purity and wisdom and blue represents immortality.