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15th Annual Lantern Floating brings community together

    By Pavel Stankov. May 28, 2013 - 2:22 pm

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At sunset on Memorial Day, the 15th Annual Lantern Floating brought thousands of people together.

More than 5,000 lanterns bearing personal and collective names, as well as prayers, flickered under a picturesque Honolulu sunset as people set the lanterns afloat to commemorate their loved ones.

“The theme of this ceremony is ‘Many Rivers, One Ocean.’ When countless streams merge and become one, the result is an ocean,” said Her Holiness Shinso Ito, head of the Shinnyo-en Buddhist Order, who organized the community event.

“The lanterns floating in the twilight remind us of one such connection. It is the one we have with those who’ve gone before us,” she said in her public address. “The flickering lights are like the joyous exchange of hearts we’re having today with them.”

The first ceremony was at Ke‘ehi lagoon on Memorial Day 1999. Lantern floating has made Ala Moana Beach Park into an important spiritual and tourist destination every last Monday of May.

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Photos by: Pavel Stankov