Lantern Floating Hawaii Ceremony // (c) 2012 Shinnyo-en
Each Memorial Day, 3,000 candle-lit lanterns illuminate the ocean off Honolulu's Magic Island during the annual Lantern Floating Hawaii Ceremony. Coming up on May 28, 2012, the 14th annual festival expects to attract 40,000 Hawaii residents and visitors who set afloat lanterns at sunset in remembrance of loved ones who have passed, or as symbolic prayer for a harmonious and peaceful future.
This year’s 90-minute ceremony and program starts at 6 p.m. with a Buddhist service led by the head of Shinnyo-en, Her Holiness Keishu Shinso Ito.
The event also includes performances by international and Hawaiian musicians, including acclaimed local recording artists The Brothers Cazimero and Raiatea Helm. A ceremonial lighting of the Light of Harmony takes place prior to the floating of lanterns.
At the conclusion of the ceremony, all lanterns are collected from the ocean and recycled for use in the upcoming years.
Visitors wanting to personally float a lantern should stop by the lantern request tent on event day starting at 1 p.m., with lanterns available on a first-come first-served basis. There is no charge to participate.
Free event parking is available at the Hawaii Convention Center, with complimentary shuttles to and from the event site beginning at 4 p.m.