When I saw this clip a few weeks ago I was reluctant to share it with anyone, even though it -- and other clips of the same event -- already have hundreds of thousands of views on YouTube. It was just too special and too beautiful for other people to see. Luckily, I realized that thought was a little insane, so here it is.
Take a look as the people of Poznan, Poland release nearly 8,000 paper lanterns into the night sky to celebrate the shortest day of the year.
The first time I ever saw these paper lanterns released was in the 2000 Leonardo DiCaprio flick The Beach (I don't care what you think, it's one of my favorites!) and I honestly didn't think it was a real "thing." I just assumed it was some marvelous Hollywood imagery. In fact, there's also a very beautiful lantern scene in Tangled, one of Disney's latest animated films. Obviously, the paper lanterns -- or sky lanterns -- are real and nothing new to the world.
There is something about these paper lantern ceremonies that affects me. I, personally, have never participated in their release, but have always felt an emotional yank on my heart strings when viewing one. I mean, how can you not feel inspired when looking at the very incarnation of what a dream or wish looks like?