Six years ago here in Hessen.....we had this couple in Dieburg get married. In a traditional marriage situation.....there are various customs and curiosities. Some are modern and some are a thousand years old. It would be correct to say that people are continually looking for a new idea or gimmick to make their ceremony very unusual.
Well, in the case of this couple.....the wife's mom and the soon-to-be husband had decided on this Chinese idea......sky lanterns. If you've never seen a Chinese sky lantern.....it's a small item which has a hot-air balloon idea situation.....a candle inside which is lit and the lantern rises up into the air and floats off. At night....it's a nifty idea. The candle will illuminate the lantern and you can see from 3,000 feet away as it drifts off.
Now, a guy from Alabama would naturally watch this type of situation and ask this fundamental question.....when the candle starts to lose intensity....there's no more hot air flow.....so it drifts down, and you kinda wonder....where does it land....safely?
In this episode in Dieburg....one lantern came down on neighbor property....setting two buildings on fire. These are farm buildings.....at least by the description in the local news. Total loss? 300,000 Euro. Yeah, it was a hefty loss for the owners.
For six years, it's been going through the court system. Finally.....yesterday, the judge issued a ruling. The wife's mom and the husband are held responsible and they will have to pay 'something'. It's not clear on the amount. I'm guessing that the court will spend another month and try to figure out the amount of money involved and it might be all of the 300,000 Euro or maybe some hefty portion. Getting the payment down to zero? I don't see that happening.
Did the authorities warn the folks ahead of time? Well.....yes and no. Mom and the husband-to-be both went to the local county office and asked it was illegal, and got the answer of no. But the clerk noted.....this was highly dangerous and suggested they not do it.
Within weeks of this episode......Hessen state legislation moved onto banning the lantern deal.
What happens next? I'm guessing a long waiting period and a lot of stress put upon the wife, husband and family. Most folks don't have 300,000 Euro sitting around and it might create a fair amount of stress on relationships. Maybe local folks will come out and donate some money to the fund, but I doubt if it'd go past twenty thousand Euro. Someone will have to pay back a fairly heft amount of money. All for the thrill of a Chinese lantern.