Thousands honor those lost at lantern festival
Forty-thousand people packed Ala Moana Beach Park on Monday night to remember loved ones at the 15th Annual Lantern Floating Hawaii.
Just after sunset, light starting rising from the sea. A sign of love, peace and unity for many.
"It's a great occasion," said Pijush Chaudhuri, a visitor from New York. "It's a very valuable occasion. It will make people get together from all cost, greed and everything and united on the sea shore to pray to god for all welfare."
More than 5,000 lanterns danced upon the ocean, each one, a memorial.
"To my parents, to my wife's parents and to all our relatives who are not with us now," Chaudhuri said.
"For my brother and my grandparents," said Anna Latham, a visitor from Alaska. "So I just thought it would be nice to do something in remembrance of him."
People from all over the world, of all ethnic and religious backgrounds, participated in a Buddhist tradition practiced throughout Japan to pay respect to ancestors.
"I dedicated it to my grandfather who recently died, said Antonio Sanchez-Lancha, who arrived from Spain just 24 hours before the ceremony. "I wanted to remember him."
Honolulu resident Veronica Valdez, who came to honor her father, said, "I think of him almost everyday and I just miss him and I felt like this was my chance to talk to him again."
The Shinnyo-en Buddhist order of Hawaii puts on this event each Memorial Day at Ala Moana Beach Park, not only to remember those lost, but to pray for a harmonious future.
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