About Shinnyo Lantern Floating Hawai‘i

History of Lantern Floating

Every year on Memorial Day in America, people remember and honor those who have fallen in service to their country. Several sources account for its origins, among which is the tale of women in the South who visited a cemetery to decorate the graves of Confederate soldiers after the Civil War. Disturbed by the sight of the neglected graves of Union soldiers, they offered flowers on their graves as well. In recent years, the custom has grown to decorate the graves of all departed loved ones in addition to honoring all who died in battle.

 

When the founder of Shinnyo-en visited Hawaiʻi in 1970, he paid respects at Punchbowl and the Arizona Memorial. Profoundly moved by this experience, he was inspired with the wish to hold a lantern floating where people could share their hopes for peace. His successor, Her Holiness Shinso Ito, further inspired by the tale of the Southern women, carried out his wish in the form of Shinnyo Lantern Floating Hawaiʻi on Memorial Day, 1999.

 

For the first three years, the event was held at Keʻehi Lagoon on the south shore of Oʻahu. In 2002, the ceremony was moved a few miles down the coast to Ala Moana Beach where it has been observed annually. Since lockdowns were set in place in 2020, the ceremony has been held in different formats while still remaining true to the spirit of how it was started. In 2021, Shinnyo Lantern Floating Hawai’i will be offered as an interactive and virtual experience for each participant to be inspired to share their inner light of shinnyo with the world.