The Shinnyo Lantern Floating Hawaii 2020, an annual festival that takes place every Memorial Day at Ala Moana Beach Park, will not take place in person this year, but will be broadcast on Hawaii News Now’s KGMB feed and livestreamed online.
Organizers of the festival had earlier canceled this year’s event due to the coronavirus pandemic, but announced today that it will be observed in an hour-long broadcast, with participation from the public.
The broadcast is scheduled for 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. on May 25 on KGMB, and will be simultaneously streamed at lanternfloatinghawaii.com and on Shinnyo Lantern Floating Hawaii’s Instagram and Facebook accounts.
The program will feature a ceremonial blessing by Her Holiness Shinso Ito, along with words of encouragement, and personal stories about overcoming struggle, sacrifice, and awakening.
“In line with the event’s legacy, the observance will be held in remembrance of the military’s fallen and loved ones who have passed,” said Shinnyo-en in a news release. “With a spirit of hope and positivity, the event this year will also acknowledge the countless acts of compassion and heroism expressed as the world continues to navigate the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.”
The public is invited to submit their remembrances, prayers, and commitments to positive action normally placed on the lanterns online at lanternfloatinghawaii.com.
Submissions received by noon, Hawaii time, on May 23, will be included in the ceremonial “Merit Transfer” ritual to be conducted on May 24 in Japan by Her Holiness Shinso Ito, head of Shinnyo-en, on behalf of all related to Shinnyo Lantern Floating Hawaii.
Submissions received after the May 23 deadline will be included in the “Merit Transfer” service conducted monthly at Shinnyo-en Hawaii.
“We understand the profound impact and difficult choices everyone is making during this time and our hearts go out to all those affected by this pandemic,” said Craig Yamamoto, Hawaii Temple Manager of Shinnyo-en, in a news release. “Upon deep reflection and careful consideration, we felt it was still important to continue to honor the message of peace and hope that is embodied by this event. Our hope is that it will provide solace to those watching and we encourage everyone to continue to submit their remembrances, prayers and commitments to positive action to perpetuate the goodness of those being remembered through an online submission.”
Traditionally, on Memorial Day, participants write personal messages on 7,000 candle-lit lanterns and set them afloat on the ocean at Ala Moana to honor loved ones.
The releasing of the lanterns is a symbolic, collective vow to work toward a peaceful, harmonious future, where each person commits to strive for their best through expressing their “shinnyo,” a term used to describe “our best selves,” according to organizers.
This year, floating lanterns will not be released on to the ocean.
“Although this year will be different, its significant message remains the same — the care and support that surrounds and connects all will bring about a brighter future,” said organizers in the news release.
Messages may be submitted in writing or as an image that can be uploaded to lanternfloatinghawaii.com, texted to 429-5194, or shared via personal social media accounts. When sharing on Facebook, tag @ShinnyoLanternFloatingHawaii; on Instagram, add #ShinnyoLanternFloatingHawaii.
These images will serve as “virtual lanterns,” and may appear in the program.