Lantern Floating Ceremony Marks Memorial Day

Roy Ho
Roy Ho
Carol Invencion
Carol Invencion

WAIKIKI (KHNL) The waters off Magic Island were glowing Monday night with the memories of loved ones. The eighth annual Lantern Floating Ceremony or

Toro Nagashi

helped mark this Memorial Day evening. More than a thousand lanterns were set afloat to guide the souls of the deceased into a world of peace and comfort.

Thousands gathered on this Memorial Day to remember their ancestors. The eighth annual Lantern Floating Ceremony drew people from across the globe.

"It means connecting to ancestors and loved ones and paying your respects to those who have come before you" said participant Roy Ho.

More than a thousand delicate paper lanterns were released. Each one is covered with a prayer or is scrolled with the names of ancestors.

"The prayers are for any deceased person that the requestor would like to remember. So it s for people who have died in wars, people who were hurt in natural disasters" said participant Patti Nishiguchi.

This age-old tradition comes from Japan but has adapted to Hawaii to include all cultural backgrounds.

"This lantern floating is really for everyone. It s not just a Buddist thing, not a Japanese thing, it s really a human thing we really want to convey that to everyone" said Ho.

Kaimuki resident Carol Invencion brought her children to the ceremony.

"To send a lantern out to my grandfather and their great grandfather"

The ceremony ends with the candlelit lanterns dotting the shoreline. The ocean will now carry the prayers and ancestors to their spiritual home. The emotional ceremony also honored victims of Hurricane Katrina and the tsunami in Thailand.