Chinese lanterns were invented in the 3rd century Eastern Han Dynasty. Glass was not readily available in China, therefore paper was used to surround flames preventing them from going out.
The lantern originated in monasteries and palaces as a necessary source of light. They eventually became a highly ornamental status symbol portraying a royal red color, calligraphy and family symbols. Lanterns became a transportable light source due to their lightweight capability. Street lighting began by hanging lanterns from poles and lining the streets. The lantern soon became a battlefield symbol of hope and well wishes which is carried on today during festivals and celebrations.