Honolulu Travel Blog› entry 21 of 28 › view all entries
May 28th, 2007 – by: crystalware
So, for a little bit of background. The Latern celebration is actually a Buddhist tradition called toro nagashi in which laterns are floated, in this case, out into Ala Moana Beach Park. The lit laterns produce a wonderful
warm glow and it is represents the happiness of beings in both the physical and spiritual realms. Shinso Ito is the head if Shinnyo-en and she explained that the Buddha's teachings is likened to a great ocean that embraces and accepts everything.
My boyfriend and I both had family members who had served so we only thought it appropriate to have a latern in their memory. After standing in a rather long line we were able to write their names to be placed on a wooden latern that would float on the open ocean tonight. Because there were so many people at this celebration we decide to buy a shaved ice and head to the other end of Magic Island where we could still see the celebration but not have to worry about the crowds.
There were several performaces by local hula groups and other performers before the celebration got underway.
First came the Latern of World Peace and then the Latern of Hawaii. After those had been properly released all 1350 individual laterns were set to float on the ocean. This was such a moving ceremony. The laterns put off this calm relaxing glow and it seemed as if everything were at peace during those next few moments. The park was silent except for the camera shutters going off at a very rapid pace. The only thing showing was the latern glow and the flash of cameras. Then, the crowd began to sing "Hawai'i Aloha" to close the ceremony. The photos I have do not even begin to capture the essence of this night. It was beautiful, a ceremony that will not be forgotten.
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