The Sea, Illuminated: Floating Lanterns

The Sea, Illuminated: Floating Lanterns

Let's face it: Memorial Day has always been another three-day "pardon" from the shackles of work... and not much more. Even here in Hawaii, the extent of "memorializing" is usually minimized to trying to get our neighbor's black lab out from under the house after the F-1 fighter jets do a fly-by. But this year—in these waxing times of bolstered Americana—we thought it was time to think about recognizing what this holiday is all about.

On May 25th, more than 50,000 people will descend upon Magic Island at Ala Moana Beach Park, and pay tribute to their fallen friends and family, by floating a few thousand lanterns in to the azure bay. If the image alone of an illuminated Pacific swath, set against the Honolulu skyline, isn't enough to get you downtown, then perhaps the idea of so many people casting their wishes and prayers for a harmonious and peaceful future will.

Beginning at 6:30 p.m., a short Buddhist service will commence, joining prayers from around the world's cultures with the musical stylings of trumpeter Matthias Hofs, a special Lantern Floating Hawaii Choir and orchestra, as well as a performance by the Honolulu Symphony. There will be a Taiko drumming performance at the finale of the evening's events.

Through May, there will be a photo exhibit at the Kahala Mall that features images of the floating lanterns and the annual ceremony, as taken by Pulitzer Prize-winning photographer David Hume Kennerly.

The event is free; a shuttle from the free parking at the Hawai'i Convention Center will run throughout the evening, beginning at 4:00 p.m.

Read more: