Kongming lantern, also called sky lantern, is the first hot air balloon invented by Zhuge Liang, a famous military strategist in ancient China.
During the period of Three Kingdoms (220~280), Zhuge Liang was trapped in Pingyang (a city in ancient China) and he could not go out for help. However, Zhuge，who was good at measuring wind direction, made a floating paper lantern to send out a message for help. Before long, he was saved by the army who received his lantern. Later, people call it kongming lantern as Kongming is the style name of Zhuge Liang.
Kongming lantern consists of bamboo frames, the oiled rice paper and a small candle. The frames are covered with oiled rice paper and the small candle inside the lantern. When it is lit, the air inside the lantern is heating rapidly, thus the reduce of the density for the air inside causes the lantern to rise into the air.
In ancient China, kongming lantern was usually used in wars. While nowadays, it is used for expressing the best wishes, especially on Mid-Autumn and Lantern Festival. People of all ages are interested in writing wishes on the surface of the lanterns. Kongming lantern is regarded as a symbol of “harvest success” or “well-being year after year”.