Nearly 40,000 people attended the event on Memorial Day, as friends and family gathered along the shore line to set lanterns a float on the calm waters at Ala Moana Beach Park, as the sun slowly set. On every lantern, there is a message, prayer, or wish being "sent" to loved ones, as friends and family write personal messages to honor those who have passed.
As I stood knee-deep in water at the shore line with other photographers, desperately searching for the best spot to take photos, I started to observe the people around me. I quickly noticed, men, women, and children weeping throughout the crowd, as they remembered their own loved ones. Although I had only come to take photos and observe the event, it began to move me, as I began to appreciate the significance of the Lantern Floating Ceremony, an event that promotes peace among human beings.
As friends and family gathered around the shoreline ready to set their lanterns a float, I noticed a young boy, crying as he held his. You could feel the emotion in the air, as hundreds and thousands of people at Ala Moana Beach park silently waited for the moment they could finally release their lanterns into the water.
Before the event took a place, there was an elegantly presented Buddhist style ceremony, while there also had been entertainment, to include the lighting of an "enternal fire," prayer, and singing.
Hundreds began to set foot in water as they began releasing their lanterns. One by one, the amount of lanterns began to grow, softly floating a top the water, illuminating the sea.
Happy Memorial Day!