After a great dinner out in the Gu Lou neighborhood, the group walked to Ho Hai, which is a large urban lake surrounded by a scenic park and lively boardwalk. We had one goal and that was to let as many people in our group as possible release red lanterns.
The tradition of releasing red lanterns has been going on for over a thousand years, and it commemorates the story of a general who cleverly used them as a battle signal and consequently was victorious.
Unfortunately, releasing red lanterns is technically illegal now ostensibly because of the fire hazard, although they are still sold all over the place. We also hoped that no one would get in trouble the day before they left. Despite the risk, we decided to go for it anyway, and we are glad we did. Although one officer did end up asking us to stop, it was after nearly everyone had released one.
For us, the red lanterns were a symbol of closure for the week and also of new beginnings. We wanted people to have fun watching them together and reflecting on the week and also on the stories to come.