Memorial Day in Honolulu – Shinnyo-en Buddhists Host 13th Annual Lantern Floating Hawaii Ceremony

Lanterns are floated out to sea carrying messages of remembrance during Shinnyo-en Buddhists Memorial Day Lantern Floating Ceremony in Honolulu, HI. (PRNewsFoto/Shinnyo-en) HONOLULU, HI UNITED STATES

More Than 40,000 Attendees Expected for Multicultural, Interfaith Observance

HONOLULU, May 26, 2011 /PRNewswire/ — Shinnyo-en, a global Buddhist denomination, and the Honolulu-based Na Lei Aloha Foundation are hosting the 13th annual Lantern Floating Hawaii ceremony on Memorial Day, Monday, May 30, 2011 at Ala Moana Beach in Honolulu, 6:30 PM HAST. The ceremony will be broadcast live online and updates will be posted to Facebook. The Memorial Day observance culminates with a traditional Japanese lantern floating ceremony honoring those lost to war, health and natural disasters and serving as a symbolic prayer for a harmonious and peaceful future for all.

Among the 40,000+ expected guests and participants are Hawaii Governor, Neil Abercrombie, and Honolulu Mayor, Peter Carlisle. The head priest of Shinnyo-en’s more than 1 million worldwide members, Her Holiness Shinso Ito, will conduct official rite of remembrance and honoring of the departed. The ceremony includes performances of Taiko drumming, HAPA Hawaiian music performers, Halau Hula O Kamuela hula dancing and a traditional Hawaiian choir performance. The ceremony is free of charge and open to the public.

Participants in the Lantern Floating Hawaii ceremony release about 3,000 glowing lanterns into the Pacific Ocean. Each lantern is constructed in advance by volunteers, and participants are encouraged to write their remembrances, memories and prayers on the lanterns.  The lanterns are floated into the ocean, offering a beautiful and moving visual to observers, and are later collected and recycled.

“We hope that Lantern Floating Hawaii allows people to experience a feeling of warmth, joy, loving kindness, and compassion, whether they participate from shore or view it around the world through the media,” said Roy Ho, Executive Director of the Na Lei Aloha Foundation, which organizes the annual event.

In Japan, lantern floating ceremonies are traditionally held to conclude the Obon Festival, a period of respect for ancestors.  Lantern Floating Hawaii was brought to Hawaii by Shinnyo-en Buddhists to coincide with the American custom and tradition of honoring fallen soldiers for Memorial Day.  The first Lantern Floating Hawaii ceremony was held in 1999, and every year the event has grown in popularity and attendance in response to positive feedback from the community and demand from more visitors to participate.

About Shinnyo-en:

Shinnyo-en is a Buddhist denomination originally established in Japan. It is, first and foremost, a place for Buddhist training, in which all people regardless of age, gender, nationality, or religious background can cultivate their innate buddha nature, the kernel of enlightenment existing in all beings. Shinnyo-en held the first Lantern Floating Hawaii in 1999 and created the Na Lei Aloha Foundation in Honolulu in 2004 as the primary organizer of the annual event.

SOURCE Shinnyo-en


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