June 1, 2011

Toro Nagashi

Volunteers hold lanterns as they get prepared to set them out to open water at Ala Moana Beach Park.
Every year Shinnyo-En Hawaii, and the Na Lei Aloha Foundation come together to host a Lantern Floating Festival held on Memorial Day.  Lantern floating is an Asian spiritual tradition that beautifully symbolizes the wish for all beings to live in peaceful coexistence. As the lanterns are released onto the ocean they take with them written prayers and/or messages for victims of conflict, famine, disaster and disease as well as hopes for the happiness of all past and present.  The event is sponsored by Na Lei Aloha Foundation and officiated by the Shinnyo-en Buddhist sect.  More photographs after the jump.

People waited in line to obtain a lantern to participate in the 13th Annual Lantern Floating.

A moment of silence is held for those who passed away, and who lost their lives in the Japan earthquake as well as in service to the United States Armed Forces.

Camera people crowd the beach shoreline.  A lot of people attend the ceremony to take photographs of the lanterns.
A woman wipes tears away during the ceremony.

A lantern floats out to sea bearing the message of a family to their loved ones, whom had departed.

Canoes carrying volunteers navigate through a mass of lanterns floating towards open sea.

A girl pauses after releasing her lantern out on the water at Ala Moana Beach Park.

People crowd the shallow waters hoping to get one last picture of the lanterns as they float out towards the open water.

All Images copyright ©Kent Nishimura, Honolulu HI based photographer | www.kentnishimura.net

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