Lantern Ceremony Preps Underway for Memorial Day

Courtesy: Shinnyo-en
Courtesy: Shinnyo-en


Ceremony to Commence at 6 p.m. and Feature Performances by The Brothers Cazimero and Raiatea Helm

LIVE BROADCAST ON KGMB and online at at 6:00 p.m. - 7:30 p.m. 

HONOLULU, O'AHU, HAWAI'I—The 14th Annual Lantern Floating Hawaii Ceremony will take place on Memorial Day, May 28, 2012. More than 3,000 candle-lit lanterns bearing individual and community remembrances and prayers will illuminate the ocean off of Magic Island at Ala Moana Beach Park. The event brings together more than 40,000 residents of Hawaii and visitors from around the world who set afloat lanterns at sunset in remembrance of loved ones who have passed, or as symbolic prayer for a harmonious and peaceful future. The theme of Lantern Floating Hawaii is "Many Rivers, One Ocean."

This year's 90 minute ceremony and program will commence at 6 p.m. with a Buddhist service led by the Head of Shinnyo-en, Her Holiness Keishu Shinso Ito. Joining prayers from all around the world, the event will also include performances by international and Hawaiian musicians, including acclaimed local recording artists The Brothers Cazimero and Raiatea Helm, and a ceremonial lighting of the Light of Harmony, leading up to the floating of lanterns onto the Pacific Ocean. At the conclusion of the ceremony, as in past years, all lanterns are collected from the ocean and recycled for use in the upcoming years.

Volunteers will begin constructing the lanterns in March and the public is welcomed and encouraged to participate. To volunteer, contact the Nâ Lei Aloha Foundation by email at or call (808) 942-1848.

Those wanting to personally float a lantern may receive a lantern at the Lantern Request Tent on the event day starting at 1:00 p.m. on a first-come, first-served basis. Please consider others by limiting to one lantern per family/group in order to allow many to participate. Out of primary concern for the safety of participants and to protect the environment, floating homemade lanterns is highly discouraged.

The Lantern Request Tent will open at 10:00 a.m. only for those who prefer to write a remembrance or prayer on a lantern to be floated on their behalf. Special paper will be provided that will be affixed to the lantern. These requests may be made until 5:30 p.m.

There is no charge to participate however donations will be gifted to the City & County of Honolulu.

Individuals may also submit messages or memories of loved ones who have passed by visiting

Free event parking is available at the Hawai'i Convention Center. A complimentary shuttle will transport attendees between the Hawai'i Convention Center and Magic Island beginning at 4 p.m.

The first Lantern Floating Hawaii Ceremony was held at Ke'ehi Lagoon on Memorial Day 1999 and has grown each year in response to community demand. Shinnyo-en and Nâ Lei Aloha Foundation have nurtured the community event as a vehicle for cross-cultural cooperation, understanding, harmony and peace which engages hundreds of volunteers and thousands of participants annually.