Going to Hawaii is often an exercise in rest and relaxation, full of beaches, good food, and beautiful weather. Somehow, we've discovered yet another reason to visit the islands, one that can help bring you some spiritual healing and inner peace. Our newest festival of the season is the Lantern Floating in Honolulu, Hawai'i, a yearly celebration that honors people who we've lost, giving attendees a chance to reflect, remember, and heal.
The Lantern Floating is the Hawaiian version of the Japanese Tōrō nagashi cememony, where, traditionally, white paper lanterns are floated down a river in remembrance of loved ones that were lost over the past year. In Honolulu, every Memorial Day at Ala Moana Beach Park, Hawaiians combine the sunset view with the light from thousands of tiny floating lanterns in a visually striking display of remembrance. Seeing, or participating in the floating, would be a great way to make an already beautiful evening more memorable.
The Hawaiian festival is sponsored by the Na Lei Aloha Foundation, a local Buddhist organization who continues this tradition with an event complete with music and spectacle. Even though this event is short, just an hour and a half, I think it would be a perfect excuse to break out of the typical "relax on the beach" mentality and open yourself up to some spiritual fulfillment. Or, at the very least, just take the opportunity to see a more personal side of the people of Hawaii. To get a sense of what the Lantern Floating is like, check out the entirety of the 2010 event in this series of videos.