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Cultural Traces Around the World

Hot Air Balloons

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The invention of the hot air balloon was one of humanity’s earliest attempts to realize the dream of flight. A typical hot air balloon today is composed of a large balloon with an attached basket to carry people. Gas burners send hot air up into the balloon. Because the hot air inside is less dense than the air outside, the balloon rises.

Prototypes of hot air balloons can be found in sky lanterns, which have been used by many cultures for millennia. For instance, approximately 2,500 years ago, during the Han Dynasty in China, sky lanterns were commonly used for lighting roads, celebrating the Lunar New Year, and performing Buddhist rituals. Other auspicious occasions that are celebrated around the world with flying lanterns include Diwali, the Hindu Festival of Lights, the Yi Peng Festival of Thailand, and the Vesak Day of Indonesia. According to traditional beliefs, ascending light symbolizes good luck, hope, and the fulfillment of dreams.

In this day of advanced technology and modern forms of transportation such as jets and rockets, riding in hot air balloons might seem a little “old fashioned,” yet many people still love this idyllic experience. On a fine day, one can relax in the comfort of the basket, rise up slowly, and enjoy the view of the Earth below with family and friends, without the sound of a roaring engine. And a sky dotted with colorful hot air balloons is a joyful sight to behold.

Riding in hot air balloons is now a popular recreational activity for people of all ages. Many places around the globe have special hot air balloon festivals that offer balloon enthusiasts the opportunity to share their designs and fly together. Hot air balloons inspire people from all walks of life who want to test their creative and practical skills by taking balloons to new heights, traveling greater distances, and setting other records.

Some splendid views of nature can be enjoyed on a hot air balloon safari. Imagine having a birds-eye view across the incredible African savannah, seeing amazing animal-people like lion-people, elephant-people, hippo-people, and giraffe-people far below. What a great way to see these magnificent beings in their natural habitat without disturbing them in any way.
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