Volunteers sought for 2017 Lantern Floating Hawaii ceremony

(Image: Hawaii News Now)
(Image: Hawaii News Now)

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Shinnyo-en and Na Lei Aloha Foundation are beginning preparations for the highly anticipated Lantern Floating Hawaii ceremony and are calling for volunteers to support preparations, the event day and post-ceremony cleanup.

"The hands and hearts of our volunteers make it possible for thousands to remember their loved ones at the Lantern Floating Hawaii ceremony," said Rev. Craig Yamamoto, temple manager of Shinnyo-en Hawaii. "We welcome all to be a part of our volunteer ?ohana to join us in gathering the community and visitors for a collective experience of warmth, compassion and understanding."

Beginning in April, volunteers will join temple practitioners at Shinnyo-en Hawaii to carefully prepare more than 7,000 lanterns for the event day. Remembrances and prayers that are submitted online will also be hand-transcribed by volunteers.

Volunteers will support various duties on the event day including, carrying, lighting and floating of the collective remembrance lanterns. Each step is carefully done with reverence for those being remembered as well as those who are honoring them. Following the ceremony, all lanterns are retrieved from the ocean and volunteers will gather on weekends through early July to clean, refurbish and store the lanterns for use in coming years.

This year's ceremony will be observed on Memorial Day, May 29, 2017 from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. and will be officiated by head priest of Shinnyo Buddhism, Her Holiness Shinso Ito. Each year, the ceremony brings together more than 50,000 residents and visitors from around the world who gather on the beach to honor and offer gratitude to the military's fallen and all who have come before. The ceremony also streams live on the internet where many from around the world join in this moment of remembrance.

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 interest. Shinnyo-en Hawaii and Na Lei Aloha Foundation have nurtured this community event as a vehicle for cross-cultural cooperation, understanding, harmony and peace, which engages hundreds of volunteers and thousands of participants annually.

For those interested in volunteering, and are in the 9th grade or older, click on the "Volunteer" link at www.lanternfloatinghawaii.com or call (808) 942-1848 ext. 3. Upon registering, you will be notified of the volunteer schedule.

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