Latern Floating

Honolulu Travel Blog

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So many people!
Happy Memorial Day everyone!!! I decided to share the Memorial Day Celebration that occured at Magic Island in Honolulu yesterday. The 9th annual Latern Floating celebration got under way at 1:00 in the afternoon. We decided that was too early so we arrived at the park at 5:00 in the evening. There were so many people at this one spot is was almost impossible to move around.

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.
This ceremony was an opportunity to reflect and offer prayers to those who had been war victims or those who has passed after service. The laterns were used to help guide their souls over the ocean of the suffering to the world of comfort.

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 there was an entrance processession by the Head Priest and others followed by an address given by the Head Priest. The laterns were then blessed, lit, and released.

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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So many people!
So many people!
Magic Island
Magic Island
Canoe clubs helped to release late…
Canoe clubs helped to release lat…
photo by: crystalware