During the time I lived in Japan ('85-'86 and '90-'93) I was able to attend many Japanese festivals both in Kanazawa and in other areas I traveled to.
During the biggest festival in Kanazawa, the Hyakumangoku Festival, these red lanterns with the plum blossom logo of Kanazawa were hung all over the city. Smaller lanterns were carried by the children through the city the night before the big parade with candles in them.
Through some 'connections', I was able to bring quite a few of these lanterns home with me. The small red ones served as the centerpieces for our wedding reception, filled with white tissue and held open by an ingenious little stick contraption my dad came up with.
The rest of the lanterns were hung around my in-laws back yard for our cookout/rehearsal dinner the night before the wedding (it was July and very nice that evening). We even lit candles in them, adding to the overall effect.
Unfortunately the candles burned a bit too long - and more than a few lanterns went down in flames -unrecoverable. Luckily no one was burned.
A few of the lanterns only got singed a bit. These my mother-in-law carefully put away - to be brought out and re-hung from time to time in her garden.
Last month - right around our 14th wedding anniversary - she had them out in the garden again. I was amazed and impressed to see how well they have held up over the years, singes and all. This one hung out through a few wind and rain storms this summer, and is still intact.
A bit worse for wear in places, but with a good strong connection between both sides holding it all together. Kind of like a good long relationship. (Not necessarily the profound word imagery I was thinking of when I took this photo -but I think you know what I mean).
Happy belated anniversary, sweetie!!