Organizers today announced that Shinnyo Lantern Floating Hawaii 2021, an annual tradition, will not take place at Ala Moana Beach Park on Memorial Day this May due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
The ceremony, officiated by Shinnyo-en, an international Buddhist community, will not be held as a gathering on the beach on May 31 due to concerns for the health and safety of the community.
There will, however, still be opportunities to participate in the festival, to be announced at a later date.
The festival was also canceled last year due to the pandemic.
For years, the festival has drawn tens of thousands of participants around the world for a moment of collective remembrance. Participants in past years released candle-lit lanterns bearing personal, hand-written messages honoring loved ones who have died, along with commitments to positive action, onto the ocean at dusk.
The lanterns are retrieved and reused every year, bearing new messages.
Instead of an in-person gathering, a virtual ceremony to honor loved ones was broadcast last year on television and livestreamed, while remembrances were accepted online.
Details on this year’s alternative ceremony have not yet been announced, but the theme of this year’s Shinnyo Lantern Floating Hawaii is “Many Rivers, Once Ocean — Share Your Light.”
“The health and safety of our community continues to be our main concern during these uncertain times,” said Rev. Craig Yamamoto, Community Relations Manager of Shinnyo-en Hawaii, in a news release. “With that in mind, we are working on creating special experiences that will allow people to honor loved ones who have passed and inspire them to step forward into positive action, and to do it in the safest way possible.”
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