9th Annual Lantern Floating Ceremony

May 30, 2007 by Kailani  
Filed under hawaii

On Memorial Day, over 1300 candle-lit lanterns made of wood or paper was launched from the shores of Ala Moana Beach Park by family members paying their respects to their ancestors. During this Toro-Nagashi, or “lantern offerings on the water,” lanterns are individually set afloat on the ocean and are said to ferry spirits “from the shore of delusion to the shore of salvation.”

It is through this that the sincere prayers of everyone are united… prayers for a future in which harmony exists amongst all people regardless of differences between race, religion and culture. Once the cermony was over, every lantern was retrieved and recycled.

This was the first year that our family participated in the event. We felt it was important for Girlie Girl to start learning about her Japanese-Hawaiian culture. The day ended with a perfect sunset.

About the author:
Kailani is the owner and founder of An Island Life. You'll find her sharing her daily life as a mother to 3 wonderful daughters, working as a flight attendant, and living a blessed life in Hawaii. She is also the founder of the group review site - Family Review Network. Follow along on her adventure of a lifetime this Winter as a member of the Vaseline Dry Skin Patrol!
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28 Responses to “9th Annual Lantern Floating Ceremony”
  1. grace says:

    I participated in a toro-nagashi ceremony at Hiroshima in commemoration of the day the A-bomb was dropped in the city. It was so touching I couldn’t stop crying! Happy memorial day! I am glad to know your daughters are informed of their roots.

  2. Trista says:

    That is BEAUTIFUL!!! Great pics!

  3. Renee says:

    sounds like a really cool ceremony. Love the sunset. Bone was posting about how in his town they have a Decoration day where they go & take care of the graves of their ancestors. They do something like this in Korea too…take care of the graves & remember the ancestors.

    I think all too often my culture tends to bury the dead and forget them. Although, I prefer to think of it as bury their body and remember their spirit. Shoot, we tend to forget about our ancestors even when they are still with us. (of course it doesn’t help that my grandmothers have been really cranky old ladies that I would rather not deal with.)

    I think this is part of why I would like to have my remains cremated after I’m gone. That and I was brought up to believe that I won’t care after I’m dead what happens to my body…so why bother with it all. DH & I have differing opinions on this subject. Chances are likely that he’ll go before me, so I know I’ll respect his wishes…but if I go first, I’m leaving instructions with DD for her to follow out my wishes after DH goes.

  4. Sparky Duck says:

    damn, this is one of the great things I have ever heard. I am all into the fung shui, hawaiian pueo idea, so this just had to be beautiful

  5. Wendy says:

    This is beautiful! What a great way to start teaching your girls about their heritage. Things like this are always so moving.

  6. Eric says:

    When I was in the 5th grade I learned about this. It has been on my must-do list for over 20 years.

  7. katkat says:

    What I wonderful thing to do and see.

  8. Carey says:

    What a beautiful ceremony. Great photos. Thanks for sharing.

  9. tracey says:

    That is so beautiful… And how cool that you actually retrieve and reuse the lanterns!

  10. Holly Schwendiman says:

    Wow! How neat is that? What a wonderful way to honor memories while at the same time express a desire for love and harmony? Fantastic. I wish I could have been there. I’ll bet Girlie Girl was eating it up!


  11. Pamela says:

    I saw this on someone else’s blog, and thought I would like to be there and see it.

    how beautiful

  12. Melissa says:

    What a wonderful tradition! So beautiful and such a tangible learning experience for your girls! Very cool!

  13. amy says:

    What a wonderful thing to start teaching Girlie Girl. That is a great tradition!

  14. Desert Songbird says:

    I would have been crying my eyes out from the start. I think it’s wonderful that you want to pass on this tradition to Girlie Girl.

  15. rach says:

    It must have been a breathtaking sight to see those lanterns floating.

  16. Carrie says:

    Love the pics! I love hearing about Hawaiian traditions and culture. Since that is where we will be retiring!! LOL It doesn’t hurt to dream, right?

  17. Mommy the Maid says:

    That is so beautiful. What a great way to honor the past. I am sure that Girly Girl will remember her first ceremoney forever.

  18. Angela says:

    I have always thought this was such a cool tradition. (I remember learning about it in school, which means it must have made an impact!) I think it is awesome that your family is starting out sharing this tradition with GG at such an early age.

  19. TopChamp says:

    an amazing tradition! Definitely worth your pride. I love the lantern picture too.

  20. BeachMama says:

    I have heard of the lantern ceremonies but have never seen one in real life, it must be so wonderful and peaceful to attend and watch. Congratulations on making out this year. Great pics.

  21. Christine says:

    I can almost picture all the lit lanterns, peacefully floating away in the sunset. I know it must have been a very beautiful sight to behold. That’s wonderful you are passing on the traditions to GG!!

  22. Mary says:

    That sounds beautiful, what a wonderful example of culture for your girls.

    We have been to a couple of lantern lighting services for families of cancer victims… It sad yet beautiful.

  23. Dana says:

    Just trying to catch up on a few of my fa-vo-RITE bloggers Kailani. I have been at home today – sick – UGH. Anyway, I had never heard of this tradition and I have to say, it is beautiful. And it is awesome that you are starting to teach your daughter about it. The lanterns on the water…that must be such a beautiful sight. I wish I could see it – I hope to travel to Hawaii someday.

    The sunset pic is beautiful also. Hope you had a wonderful Memorial Day!


  24. Maryam in Marrakesh says:

    that mid-lantern pic is just so dreamy!

  25. Emma Honey says:

    I love the idea of ferrying spirits “from the shore of delusion to the shore of salvation”. I hope my spirit is this lucky! Beautiful photos.


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