This was a day to behold–a spectacular, awe-inspiring display of the lighting of 6,000 floating lanterns floating in the waters off Oahu’s Ala Moana Beach, to commemorate those lost to war. Thousands were on hand, mostly local, to take part in the annual Memorial Day event that has been a tradition in Hawai‘i, since 1999. The lanterns represent loved ones have passed away as well as symbol of future peace. The 90-minute ceremony will also honors who have died due to various causes afflicting humanity throughout the world. Themed “Many Rivers, One Ocean,” the annual Lantern Floating Hawaii ceremony gathers the community and visitors for a collective experience of warmth, compassion and understanding.
The service starts 6:15 p.m. with pū, oli and hula, followed by the Shinnyo Taiko and Shomyo Ensemble. The ceremony will also include a local family and Hawaiian musical artist sharing their Lantern Floating. Officiating will be Her Holiness Shinso Ito, Head Priest of Shinnyo-en, who in harmony with Hawaiian tradition, will open with the awaii experiences and address the audience and conduct a blessing. She will joined by six community leaders for the lighting of the Light of Harmony. After the lighting, the lanterns will be set afloat onto the waters of Ala Moana Beach by the general public and volunteers. At the conclusion of the ceremony, as in past years, all lanterns will be collected from the ocean and restored for use in the upcoming years. People who go to the ceremony will get their own lantern to personally float, or write their remembrances on special forms that will be placed on collective remembrance lanterns to be floated by volunteers. The Lantern Request tent will open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. (or until all lanterns are given out) on the day of the ceremony.
Parking is free at Hawaiʻi Convention Center from 7 a.m. until midnight. There will also be a complimentary shuttle to take people from the Convention Center to Ala Moana Beach Park beginning at 3 p.m. then back to the Hawai‘i Convention Center starting at 7:30 p.m. Should you want to submit a remembrance in advance you can drop it off at Shinnyo-en Hawaii (2348 South Beretania Street) during temple hours* through Tuesday, May 19. To accommodate those in and outside of Hawai‘i who are unable to visit the temple, online submissions are also being accepted through Sunday, May 24, 11:59 p.m. (HST) at www.lanternfloatinghawaii.com.
And, if you can’t make it over to the event you can watch it live KGMB or online at www.lanternfloatinghawaii.com beginning at 6:15 p.m.