Frequently Asked Questions
How can I get a lantern?
Those wanting to personally float a lantern will be able to receive a single Individual Lantern at the Lantern Request Tent on the day of the event between 10 a.m. - 4:00 p.m, or until lanterns run out, on a first-come, first-served basis. Please have aloha for others who would also like the opportunity to remember their loved ones. Sharing one lantern per family or party will make it more likely for as many who would like to float a lantern to receive one. Many names and messages can be carried on a single lantern and the experience of sharing this lantern with your family and friends can add to the feeling of oneness we hope to create through this ceremony.
Please also see the How to Participate page for detailed information
Will there be any accommodations made for those with physical disabilities?
Limited parking for persons possessing a disability parking permit will be available in the Magic Island parking lot on a first-come, first-served basis. Access is available for those with placard or special license plate AND the corresponding Disabled Person’s Parking Identification Card. When disability parking stalls are full, please park at the Hawaiʻi Convention Center where a Handi Van shuttle will provide access to the beach from 3:00-5:30 p.m. then back to Hawaiʻi Convention Center after the ceremony through 9:30 p.m.
Lantern and remembrance requests:
A dedicated tent marked “Special Needs Line” will be located on the makai side of Ala Moana Access Road for persons with physical disabilities. Please note that it is across the street from the general Lantern Request Tent. Those in possession of a Disabled Person’s Parking Identification Card may access this tent to receive their lantern or write their remembrances for the Collective Remembrance Lanterns that are floated by our volunteers.
Ceremony attendance and floating area:
A reserved area labeled “Gate 1” will be available for persons with disabilities to attend the ceremony and/or float their lantern. Due to limited space, we ask for your kind cooperation that the number of those accompanying be kept to a minimum so that others may also be accommodated.
Do I need to volunteer in order to float a lantern?
No. In fact, those who are volunteering on the day of the event are not allowed to float a lantern for themselves. If you are interested in floating a lantern, please see above.
How many lanterns will be floated?
This year, there will be over 7,000 lanterns floated.
Can I bring my own homemade lantern to float?
Out of concern for the safety of participants and the environment, we ask for your kind cooperation to not float homemade lanterns. Our lanterns are tested for flammability in all weather conditions and are designed in conjunction with special lines strung across the water to ensure they will not float out to sea. There are many ways to be a part of the ceremony, whether by receiving an Individual Lantern or writing remembrances that will be included on the Collective Remembrance Lanterns. Please do not bring homemade lanterns. Any homemade lanterns that we retrieve will not be returned to their original owners.
I would like to participate, but I cannot be there to float. What can I do?
There are many ways that you may participate either by writing your remembrance at a local Shinnyo-en temple or training center or submitting it online through this website. Please see the How to Participate page for detailed information.
There is no cost to attend, place a remembrance on a lantern, or float a lantern. However, voluntary donations received on the event day will be gifted to the City & County of Honolulu for the beautification of Ala Moana Beach Park.
May I make a donation to Lantern Floating Hawaii? Where will my donation go?
There is no cost to participate in the Lantern Floating Hawaii ceremony. However, any voluntary donations received prior to the event day go toward supporting the ceremony, and donations received on the event day at the beach are gifted to the City & County of Honolulu for the maintenance and beautification of Ala Moana Beach Park. For further information on making a donation, please email email@example.com.
The ceremony will be broadcast live on Hawai‘i News Now KGMB from 6:30-7:30 p.m. We will also be streaming live on this website from 6:30-7:30 p.m. HST (UTC-10). If you are unable to join us live, you will be able to view the ceremony in its entirety on this website after the event.
We welcome all to be a part of our volunteer ʻohana. Volunteers assist in preparing lanterns beginning in the spring, to various duties on the event day and in June for clean-up. Each step is carefully done with reverence for those being remembered as well as those who are honoring them. To become part of our volunteer ʻohana, click here or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Six large Main Lanterns carry prayers for all spirits on behalf of all people. Prayers are offered for victims of war, water-related accidents, natural and manmade disasters, famine and disease. Gratitude is offered for all - even endemic, endangered and extinct plant and animal life. These lanterns are floated with the hope of encouraging harmony and peace.
Collective Remembrance Lanterns are the original wooden-framed lanterns that were made by Shinnyo practitioners in the early years of the event and are refurbished each year. Remembrances and prayers that are received ahead of time from around the world and also from those who choose not to float an individual lantern are placed on these lanterns and floated by volunteers from the canoes and from shore.
Individual Lanterns are distributed on the event day, one per family or party. There are three sides of the lantern that are available for writing multiple remembrances. Those receiving an Individual Lantern will personally place the lantern into the water during the ceremony.
Who makes the lanterns?
The original wooden-framed Collective Remembrance Lanterns were made by Shinnyo practitioners in the early years of the event. In the spring, Shinnyo practitioners, individual volunteers and groups from schools, businesses and organizations contribute their efforts to carefully prepare these and the Individual Lanterns for the event day.
What happens to the lanterns after the ceremony?
Every effort is made to retrieve every lantern from the water. The lanterns are cleaned and stored for refurbishment in future years. Remembrances and prayers are removed and handled in a proper and spiritually respectful way.
Are lanterns available for purchase?
The lanterns are not available for purchase as they are made specifically to carry the remembrances and prayers at the Lantern Floating Hawaii ceremony and are refurbished for reuse each year. Thank you for your understanding.
I'm going to miss the live broadcast/webcast. Will I be able to view it later?
Does Lantern Floating Hawaii sell any souvenirs?
No, Lantern Floating Hawaii is a ceremony and does not profit monetarily from any activities or saleable merchandise.
Is there food or beverage available for sale?
Lantern Floating Hawaii does not sell any food or beverage. Our primary focus continues to be the safety of ceremonial participants and providing a meaningful event open to all. We appreciate your understanding and kokua by coming prepared with your own food and non-alcoholic beverages.
Food and beverages are available for purchase at the fixed concession stands located on the mauka side of Ala Moana Beach Drive which are contracted by the City & County of Honolulu’s Dept. of Parks and Recreation. Please be aware that any food or beverage being sold by vendors, stationary or mobile, other than at the fixed concession stands, is unsanctioned and not in compliance with City & County regulations.
Lantern Floating Hawaii assumes no responsibility for any damages that may occur through consumption of any food or beverage sold at Ala Moana Beach Park.
I am a food/beverage commercial vendor. How can I become a part of your event?
Lantern Floating Hawaii is a ceremony that does not offer any food or beverage for sale as other festival-style event may have.
Only the concessionaires contracted by the City & County are allowed to sell food or beverage in Ala Moana Beach Park unless given special permission by the Dept. of Parks and Recreation. However, the Dept. of Parks and Recreation will not make exceptions for any commercial activity within our permitted area.
May I film or photograph the ceremony for personal use?
Lantern Floating Hawaii is an event open to the public and many people enjoy recording their experience. We kindly ask that safety and courtesy toward participants be made a priority. For this reason, we strongly request that camera-mounted drones not be flown. We ask that requests for any commercial use of images of the Lantern Floating Hawaii ceremony be sent in writing to Nā Lei Aloha Foundation.
May we camp at Ala Moana Beach Park overnight before the ceremony?
No, Ala Moana Beach Park closes at 10:00 p.m. and opens at 4:00 a.m each day.
Free parking on May 28, 2018 will be available from 7:00 a.m.-11:59 p.m. at the Hawaiʻi Convention Center.
A complimentary shuttle and Handi Van service for persons with disabilities will be available from the Hawaiʻi Convention Center to Ala Moana Beach from 3:00-5:30 p.m. then back to the Hawaiʻi Convention Center after the ceremony through 9:30 p.m. For more details, click here.
May I decorate, attach items or adorn my lantern with lei?
We encourage writing and drawing on the paper lantern top. You may even tape photographs or images to the paper top. Please refrain from writing, drawing or puncturing the foam lantern base. We refurbish each lantern for use in future years. Due to potential fire hazards and to ensure the safety of our volunteers, please do not attach any items to the lantern. For environmental and fire safety reasons, we discourage adorning lanterns with lei.
Lost and Found
“If you misplace and item or if a person in your party is lost, the Lost and Found will be located in the Information Tent located near the permanent restrooms at the ewa end of the Magic Island parking lot.