14th Annual Lantern Floating Hawaii 2012

May 28, 2012
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 Hawaii 2012

The fourteenth annual Shinnyo-en-sponsored Lantern Floating Hawaii was held on Memorial Day at Ala Moana Beach Park in Honolulu. Shinnyo-en deeply appreciated having the Honorable Mayor Peter Carlisle of Honolulu as the Honorary Chairman of the event this year. Over 40,000 Hawaiians and visitors from all over the world attended the ceremony which began late in the afternoon and extended through till sunset.

Preceding the blessing and the lighting of lanterns, the audience at Ala Moana was welcomed by performances by leading Hawaiian cultural ensembles – The Brothers Cazimero, Raiatea Helm, and the Halau Ka Liko Pua O Kalaniakea Hawaiian dance troop as well as by taiko drummers and musicians from Japan.

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 the people who came before us and made our lives easier and richer.

The ceremony was broadcast and webcast live from Honolulu on local station Hawaii News Now. The archived ceremony may be viewed at the Lantern Floating Hawaii website.

Comments about and from during the ceremony are found on Twitter at @shinnyonews and @lanternfloating and on Facebook at Lantern Floating Hawaii.

For the history and reflections on the meaning of Lantern Floating Hawaii, see Tricycle magazine’s interview with Shinyo-en’s head priest, Her Holiness Shinso Ito.

The news release issued before the ceremony is found here.