Every year on Memorial Day, more than 40,000 residents of Hawaii and visitors gather on Oahu’s South Shore to honor loved ones and generate hope toward the future. The event will include music and a ceremonial lighting of the Light of Harmony, leading up to the floating of lanterns onto the Pacific Ocean.

Those wanting to personally float a lantern during the ceremony may receive a single Individual Lantern per family or group, at the Lantern Request Tent at Ala Moana Beach on the event day, from 10 a.m.

Those who will not be present at the ceremony or choose to not personally float an Individual Lantern may have their remembrances placed onto the original handcrafted wooden-frame Collective Remembrance Lanterns that will be floated from the canoes or from shore by volunteers.

Memorial Day in America is a day when people remember and honor those who have fallen in service to their country. In Hawai‘i, with its diverse population, traditions become easily adopted and assimilated into its rich cultural fabric. It is the norm for people in Hawai‘i, on Memorial Day, to place flowers and offerings on gravesites of loved ones who served their country as well as those of others who have passed away.

With the wish of creating cultural harmony and understanding, Her Holiness Shinso Ito, Head Priest of Shinnyo-en, officiated the inaugural Lantern Floating Hawaii ceremony on Memorial Day, 1999. For the first three years, the event was held at Ke’ehi Lagoon on the south shore of O’ahu. In 2002, the ceremony was moved a few miles down the coast to Ala Moana Beach where it has been observed every year since.

The Lantern Floating Hawaii 2014 ceremony will be held at the Magic Island end of Ala Moana Beach on Monday, May 26, 2014 from 6:00 p.m.-7:30 p.m. HST.

Join us on the beach or via Hawaii News Now’s KGMB live broadcast.

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