For many, Memorial Day weekend is the official kick-off to summer. Whether it's extra long hours at the beach, or a "freebie" night to fire up the BBQ and imbibe with friends, it's become just that—an extra day of no work. Yet for the more contemplative, Memorial Day is indeed a way to reflect on people (and ideals, habits, so on) that we have lost in recent years. There is simply no more eloquent way to do so than the annual Lantern Floating Hawaii ceremony at Magic Island on Oahu.
On Memorial Day, May 27, more than 40,000 residents and visitors will set adrift more than 5,000 candle-lit lanterns into the tranquil waters off Ala Moana, igniting the bay into a sea of glowing orange. It's nothing short of spectacular—a must if you've never been.
The event is hosted by the Shinnyo-en Hawaii Buddhist Temple on Beretania St. in Honolulu; you can swing by ahead of time to offer your remembrances which will be included in the lantern ceremony. On the big day, the 90 minute program will include song and dance by various halau, a prayer by Her Holiness Shinso Ito, head of Shinnyo-en, followed by the lighting of the "Light of Harmony."
After all lanterns are set adrift in the waters, they are then collected and repurposed for use next year. Attendees can request a lantern in which to write their remembrances which will then be set on the water by volunteers. There is no charge for the event, it is free.
You can view a live webcast at www.LanternFloatHawaii.com or watch the broadcast on HawaiiNewsNow/KGMB, both beginning at 6 p.m.
After all lanterns are set adrift in the waters, they are then collected and repurposed for use next year.