The Shinnyo Lantern Floating Festival, an annual tradition on Memorial Day at Ala Moana Beach Park, has been canceled this year due to the worldwide outbreak of COVID-19, organizers said today.
The ceremony, officiated by Shinnyo-en, an international Buddhist community, was scheduled for May 25. It was expected to draw about 50,000 residents and visitors from across the globe.
Participants are invited to release lighted paper lanterns with handwritten messages to honor fallen service members and loved ones who have died, as well as commitments to positive action. The lanterns are released onto the surface of the ocean at Ala Moana at dusk, then retrieved for reuse
“First, our thoughts go out to the thousands of people worldwide who have been affected by the COVID-19 outbreak,” said Craig Yamamoto, Hawaii Temple Manager of Shinnyo-en, in a statement. “And we understand the difficult decisions that many organizations, and individuals have had to make over the past weeks to alter their plans due to the rapidly changing situation. Shinnyo Lantern Floating Hawaii has become an important and beloved tradition in our community, and this decision was not made lightly. The health and safety of the thousands of attendees, participants, volunteers and staff are of utmost importance. We felt that under the circumstances, it would be prudent to cancel the ceremony this year.”
Shinnyo-en said in place of the festival, it would plan an alternative ceremony for participants to honor loved ones that have died by submitting remembrances, prayers and commitments online submission at lanternfloatinghawaii.com.
Shinnyo-en is planning to hold Shinnyo Lantern Floating Hawaii in 2021.
“We are fully committed to Shinnyo Lantern Floating Hawaii, and are looking forward to holding the ceremony again next year,” said Yamamoto.
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