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Guide to Shinnyo Lantern Floating Hawaii: 2024

This year marks the 25th year of the annual Shinnyo Lantern Floating Hawaii ceremony, which takes place this Memorial Day, Monday, May 27, 2024, at Ala Moana Beach in the Honolulu neighborhood of Ala Moana. If you’ve never attended this beautiful and moving event that’s beloved by locals and visitors alike, you’ll want to read on!

shinnyo lantern floating

What is Shinnyo Lantern Floating?

Since its inception in 1999, the annual Shinnyo Lantern Floating event has served as a beacon of harmony, inviting people from all walks of life to come together and honor loved ones, connect with their inner selves, and renew their commitment to compassion and understanding. Rooted in the Japanese tradition of Toro Nagashi, or lantern floating, this event has evolved into a cherished local tradition.

Against the backdrop of the Pacific Ocean, attendees are invited to write personal messages of love, remembrance and hope onto 6,000 lanterns, which are then released onto the water, their gentle glow guiding them into the horizon. The event is held every year on Memorial Day to honor those who have passed away and bring people together in the spirit of community and peace.

Event Details

Date: Monday, May 27, 2024

Time: 6:30 – 7:30 p.m.

Location: Ala Moana Beach Park, 1201 Ala Moana Blvd, Honolulu

Parking: With thousands of attendees and beachgoers, expect parking to be a challenge. One option is to use paid parking at Ala Moana Shopping Center and walk across the street to Ala Moana Beach.

What Happens at the Shinnyo Lantern Floating Event?

The lantern floating ceremony includes several elements:

Pū: The sounding of the Hawaiian conch shell marks the ceremony's start.

Shinnyo Taiko: Next, the drumming of the taiko is offered as a prayer for peace.

Oli: An oli, or Hawaiian chant, prepares participants' hearts for the ceremony.

Hula: “Ka Lei Moana,” “The Encircling Garland of the Sea,” is shared through dance every year.

Entrance of Guiding Lanterns: Six large Guiding Lanterns represent prayers for all spirits on behalf of all people.

Sharing of Light: Community leaders representing different aspects of the Guiding Lanterns draw light from a communal flame to symbolize bringing shared light back into our own communities.

Blessing and Transformation: Her Holiness Shinso Ito offers a blessing for the ceremony, lanterns, participants and those who are being honored.

Offering of Food and Water: This ritual represents the offering of spiritual nourishment for the souls of those being remembered.

Shomyo: A traditional Buddhist chant with a Western harmony follows.

Ringing of the Bell: The ringing of Her Holiness Shinso Ito’s bell signals that it is time to float the of lanterns.

Floating of Lanterns: Lastly, the lanterns are placed on water with wishes for peace, and the ceremony concludes.

How do I Get a Lantern?

Visit the Lantern Request Tent at Ala Moana Beach, Monday, May 27, 2024, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Lanterns will be distributed on a first-come, first-served basis, or until supplies run out. Each family or party is limited to one lantern. Alternatively, if you’d like to have remembrances placed on a lantern and floated on your behalf by volunteers, you can submit your messages for the Collective Remembrance Lanterns in person or online.

Will There be Accommodations for People with Physical Disabilities?

Limited parking for individuals with disability parking permits will be available in the Magic Island parking lot on a first-come, first-served basis. To access this parking, you must have a placard or special license plate along with the corresponding Disabled Person’s Parking Identification Card.

A designated access point to the beach will be available for people with disabilities. Due to limited space, the event organizers have asked that each person with a disability be accompanied by no more than two companions to ensure that others can also be accommodated.

Can I Bring my Own Lantern?

No, the organizers of the event do not allow homemade lanterns due to safety and environmental concerns.

Is There a Cost to Participate in the Shinnyo Lantern Floating?

There is no cost to participate in the event. However, donations are accepted online and in-person the day of the event. Donations made prior to the event will benefit the Nā Lei Aloha Foundation in support of all Shinnyo Lantern Floating Hawaii activities. Donations received at the event will be gifted to the City & County of Honolulu for the beautification of Ala Moana Beach Park.

What is Shinnyo?

Shinnyo-en is a form of Buddhism. "Shinnyo" is a Japanese word that refers to our innate potential for awakening.

Who is Her Holiness Shinso Ito?

Her Holiness Shinso Ito is the head of Shinnyo-en. She is one of the few women to become a Buddhist master and reach the highest priestly rank of Daisojo.

For more information about Shinnyo Lantern Floating Hawaii, visit lanternfloatinghawaii.com.