Memorial Day is a time where all of America remembers those who have fallen during service for our country. In Hawaii, this day celebrates both the living and the dead, in a beautiful and emotional ceremony that needs to go on everyone’s Bucket List.

The Floating Lantern Festival gathers thousands of both locals and tourists every year on the shores of Ala Moana Beach.

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The sounding of the pū, (Hawaiian conch shell) marks the beginning of the ceremony. Then there is the Shinnyo Taiko, which calls people together in hopes that people will support each other in harmony. The Oli chant is called to get everyone’s attention for the Entrance of Lanterns. Six large “parent” lanterns hold prayers from people for victims of war, natural disasters, and sickness. Again, these lanterns arte floated with the hope of encouraging both harmony and peace. Following the Light of Harmony, is the purfication stage, where Her Holiness Shinso Ito offers a blessing to remember everyone who passed, and everyone who is present. She then rings her special bell, signifying everyone’s thoughts and prayers, and the start of the floating of the lanterns. The participants place the lanterns in the water, with prayers and wishes for their loved ones and “with wishes for the peace and happiness of loved ones past while unveiling courage and hope in the hearts of those in the present.”

Would you attend this festival?

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Shane Autumn is currently a senior at The University of Tampa, pursuing a degree in Communication, a minor in Spanish, and a certificate in International Studies. When this travel-obsessed, adventure junkie isn't out exploring the world, she can be found feeding her unhealthy addiction to chocolate chip cookies. Shane Autumn is an avid human rights and animal activist, and plans on starting her own non-profit organization someday.

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