HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Tens of thousands of people lined the shores at Ala Moana Beach Park this Memorial Day for the 2014 Lantern Floating Hawaii ceremony.
"Although there may be 40,000 or more people here...there's somehow a moment to yourself," said Roy Ho, Executive Director for Na Lei Aloha Foundation.
According to organizers, 6,000 candle-lit lanterns were set afloat from Magic Island in remembrance of loved ones who have passed, or as symbolic prayer for a harmonious and peaceful future. Themed "Many Rivers, One Ocean," the annual Lantern Floating Hawaii ceremony gathers those of all backgrounds to offer a collective experience of warmth, compassion and understanding. The subtheme for this year's ceremony was "Friendship."
At 6:45 p.m., Her Holiness Shinso Ito, Head of Shinnyo-en, addressed the audience, followed by the lighting of the Light of Harmony. After the lighting, the lanterns were set afloat onto the waters of Ala Moana Beach by the general public and volunteers.
"It's just so beautiful. All the different people...every race, color just coming together to share," Michigan resident Derry Browder said.
At the conclusion of the ceremony, as in past years, all lanterns were collected from the ocean and restored for use in the upcoming years.