VIDEO: Lantern Floating Ceremony Hawaii

Last Updated on May 29, 2013 by Christine Kaaloa

lantern floating ceremony hawaii, toro nagashi festival, festivals in hawaii, memorial day festival in hawaii, lantern ceremony

Light a lantern for rememberance…

This year was my second year attending Hawaii’s Lantern Floating Ceremony (read about my first time attending Hawaii’s Lantern Floating). This year, I attended the festival under the guise of work, as I assisted a press crew gathering footage for the event’s foundation and from a group of ministers from different denominations, who had flown out.

The Beauty of the Lantern Floating Ceremony

I heard interviews from people, who had just written their wishes to departed loved ones on lantern boats, they were preparing to sail during the ceremony.  Listening to heartfelt letters being read from teary-eyed family members was difficult at times. From young soldiers, who had lost friends to war to children who had lost parents and siblings, it was hard not to listen and shed a tear.  Everyone had experienced some sort of loss and for many, floating a lantern helps people to feel a sense of closure, a symbolic loving act of letting go.

Loss is a part of everyone’s history . It’s one experience that unites us all.

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Remembrance, loss and the hope for peace were shared sentiments that brought over 40,000 spectators and participants to one ocean, where they could unite under peace.

It was a beautiful awakening for some and a personal letting go of pain for others.

I recorded this video, quickly between work hours (tee hee), to share the beauty of the event with you.  Watch and leave a comment.


What is a Lantern Floating Ceremony?

Started in 1999 by the Shinnyo-en foundation, the ceremony takes place at a location that is central to both,  locals and travelers alike… Magic Island in Ala Moana Beach Park. It’s a ceremony that originates from Japan’s Toro Nagashi festival, a ceremony that honors ancestors and the dead.

Lanterns on the ocean
Lanterns on the ocean

You can buy a lantern to assemble, then inscribe your letter on it. Then when the ceremony signals time, all gather to the shores to release their lanterns into the sea. It’s a gorgeous to see lanterns dancing on the surface of  the sea at night and beautiful to experience that feeling of unified peace that’s shared by others around you.

To book your flight to see next year’s ceremony, check out  for more information.

lantern floating ceremony at Ala Moana Beach, lantern floating pictures, lantern floating hawaii
lantern floating ceremony at Ala Moana Beach

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