Memorial Lantern Float a Sight to Behold

Memorial Lantern Float a Sight to Behold

How many times have you endured a holiday weekend and, somewhere between frosty “adult” beverage numbers three and four (or thereabouts) thought: “Wow, I don’t even know what this holiday is all about!” or something similar? Thankfully, this year you can experience less of what has become a kick-off-the-summer weekend, and more of what it actually signifies. We’re talking Memorial Day—and there’s no better place to be than in Ala Moana Beach Park watching or participating in the 13th Annual Lantern Floating ceremony—alongside 40,000 (or so) of your neighbors.

The event is free; as is parking at the Hawaii Convention Center. For those outside of Hawai‘i, or who somehow slept through the rather thorough local news coverage of this event in previous years; it begins with a few thousand folk picking up the beautiful floating lanterns at the beach park at 1:00 p.m., which they will spend the day adorning with notes, photos and words that memorialize loved ones that have passed on.

At 6:30 p.m. on the Magic Island center stage, performances by Shinnyo Taiko, Hapa, the Ai Family, a halau and the Shinnyo-en Choir will add a beautiful soundtrack to the mellow, reflective vibe that permeates the park.

At 7:00 p.m. a special moment of reflection for the Japan tsunami and earthquake victims will ensue. Directly following, her holiness Keishu Shinso Ito, the head of (Buddhist) Shinnyo-en temple will address the crowd, and will ignite the “Light of Harmony.” After which, the thousand (or so) lanterns will be lit and set to float in the waters astride Magic Island.


For those in attendance, a Jumbotron will display the beautifully serene images of the sea twinkling at dusk with the lanterns. This quiet remembrance is not only special to Hawai‘i, but an excellent time to mill over anyone who you may have lost in recent times that had an influence on your life.

It’s the ideal way to begin a safe, happy and appreciative summer.

"This year you can experience less of what has become a kick-off-the-summer weekend, and more of what it actually signifies. We’re talking Memorial Day..."