Lantern Floating Hawai'i
Date: May 27, 2013, 6:00 PM HST
Location: Ala Moana Beach Park, Honolulu
"The beautiful Ala Moana Beach Park has been transformed into a very special place. It's become a realm of the sacred where we can reach out to family members, friends, and loved ones who have already passed on into the next realm. Together, we remember those who've come before us, and have an opportunity to reflect on the meaning of the life we have been given. And with that, we can step forward to a future of hope. Whether we're conscious of it or not, all of us gathered here for this occasion today, from Hawaii and around the world, are connected through the bonds of ohana (family). The light of the lanterns brings us both tranquility and courage. Further, it binds us together as one big family.
" . . . When we respect one another with the spirit of aloha, accepting and embracing our differences, we can create a sense of harmony amid our diversity. Valuing the deep connections we have with each other will make it possible for all to be able to swim in an ocean of joy."
- Shinso Ito, Head Priest of Shinnyo-en at Lantern Floating Hawai'i 2012
The 15th annual Lantern Floating Hawaii took place this year on Memorial Day, May 27, 2013. More than 5,000 candle-lit lanterns bearing remembrances and prayers illuminated the ocean off of Magic Island at Ala Moana Beach Park. Every year the ceremony brings together more than 40,000 residents of Hawai‘i and visitors from around the world who set afloat lanterns at sunset in remembrance of loved ones who have passed, or as symbolic prayer for a harmonious and peaceful future.
The theme of Lantern Floating Hawaii is “Many Rivers, One Ocean,” and it is being officiated by Head of the Shinnyo-en Buddhist Order, Her Holiness Shinso Ito.
As befitting what is one of the largest Memorial Day observances in all the United States, this Honolulu ceremony honors all those who have passed on, with particular thought for those who sacrificed their lives in war and who have been victims of natural disasters, famine and disease.
While the basic elements of the ceremony are drawn from ancient Asian religious traditions, Shinnyo-en has adapted the ceremony, with their partners in Honolulu, to create a contemporary, interfaith celebration of and thanksgiving for the lives of the people who came before us and made our lives easier and richer.
2012 Lantern Floating Hawai'i,
See also our video page.
The ceremony was broadcasted local and accessible online. The archived ceremony can be viewed at the Lantern Floating Hawai’i website. Comments about and from during the ceremony are found on Twitter at @shinnyonews and @lanternfloating and on Facebook at Lantern Floating Hawai'i.
The first Lantern Floating Hawaii was held at Ke‘ehi Lagoon on Memorial Day 1999 and has grown each year in response to community demand. Shinnyo-en and the Na Lei Aloha Foundation have nurtured the community event as a vehicle for cross-cultural cooperation, understanding, harmony and peace, which engages hundreds of volunteers and thousands of participants annually.
For the history and reflections on the meaning of Lantern Floating Hawai’i, see Tricycle magazine’s interview with Shinnyo-en’s head priest, Her Holiness Shinso Ito.
Official Event Website
Visit the Lantern Floating Hawai'i website for local information and for instructions for participating in a virtual lantern floating for your own remembrances.
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