Category Archives: lanterns

HONOLULU FLOATING LANTERN FESTIVAL

Apologies, but this event is cancelled due to the COVID-19 virus.

WHAT: HONOLULU FLOATING LANTERN FESTIVAL
WHY: MEMORIAL DAY / FLOATING LANTERN FESTIVAL
WHEN: MONDAY 25TH MAY 2020
WHERE: ALA MOANA REGIONAL PARK, HONOLULU, HAWAII
COST: SEE WEBSITE FOR MORE DETAILS

Observed annually on the last Monday in May, Memorial Day or the Floating Lantern Day began in America as a holiday that originated in the years following the Civil War in the latter part of the 19th century. It held in remembrance to honour the fallen and became an official federal holiday in 1971.

Large lantern at Hawaiian boat style with many prayers

Hawaii took part in the remembrance each year by placing flowers and offerings on the gravesites of those who served their country, but also for other loved ones, friends, and family that had passed away too.

Known for its diverse population and culture, the Hawaiians adopted the remembrance but decided to do it in a different way. The first was held on Memorial Day 1999 when her holiness Shinso Ito, the head priest of Shinnyo, officiated the ceremony and was the first shinnyo-en lantern festival to be held outside of Japan. For the next three years, it was held at Ke’ehi Lagoon on the South shore of Oahu, until 2002, when the ceremony moved a few miles down the coast to Ala Moana Beach where it has remained and been observed ever since. Now held annually on Oahu’s south shore the annual floating lantern festival attracts over 50,000 locals and visitors to the beach to give a personal memory, reflect and give gratitude to them that have already left the planet.

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If you are not lucky enough to attend the event, then you can also join the thousands of watchers all around the globe via the streaming a telecasting that’s available. If you happen to be in Hawaii and not be able to get to Ala Moana Beach Park, then you can still write down your remembrances and affirmations at a local Shinnyo-en temple or training centre. Submitting it online or through the lantern floating Hawaii website.

There is a special schedule to the day that is followed each year:

Shinnyo Taiko – This is a call to begin the celebration and this is from a large concha shell. This is a signal for everyone to join and offered as a prayer for peace with the hope that people reach out in the spirit of creating harmony to support one another.

Oli – A Hawaiian chant that calls the attention of all present to prepare their hearts to receive the importance of what is to come.

Hula – This is a visual of a song (mele) or chant (oli) through dance. Hawaiian language scholar Puakea Nogelmeier wrote “Ka lei moana” the encircling garland of the sea which has been shared at the ceremony every year.

The entrance of the main lanterns – This is where the six large lanterns that carry prayers for all spirits on behalf of all the people. These are offered to all victims of war, water-related incidents natural and manmade disasters, famine and disease. It is gratitude to all along with endangered and extinct plant and animal life. They are setting sail to encourage harmony and peace to all and everything in the world.

Light of Harmony – Community leaders from various sectors all come together in the spirit of friendship along with demonstrating their unified commitment to creating harmony amid diversity.

Blessing and transformation – Her holiness Shinso Ito blesses the ceremonial area along with the lanterns, and everyone participating in the ceremony local and from afar. This is prior to the floating of the lanterns.

An offering of food and water – This is to nourish the souls of those been remembered.

Strewing of the flower petals – Since ancient times the paths of loved ones have been covered in flower petals, the offering symbolises love and respect.

Shomyo – A chant that is a fusion of Buddhist and western choral harmony.

The ringing of the bell – The crystal clear sounds of the bell focus everyone’s thoughts and prayers and it rang by her holiness. It signifies that the floating of the lanterns is about to begin.

Floating of the lanterns – This is done at dusk and the lanterns are placed on the water with wishes of peace and happiness of loved one’s past while unveiling courage and hope in the hearts of those in the present.

There are different types of lanterns at the floating parade to be seen and it is a sight to behold as the water glows from the 7000 plus lanterns that are placed on them. This is a magical display of light and love and with the setting sun providing a magnificent backdrop something that you won’t want to miss.

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YI PENG LANTERN FESTIVAL

WHAT: YI PENG LANTERN FESTIVAL
WHY: LANTERN FESTIVAL
WHERE: CHAING MAI, THAILAND
WHEN: WEDNESDAY 13TH NOVEMBER 2019
COST: FREE

Loy Krathong is the second largest festival to be celebrated in Thailand and it is a festival where families and couples put on traditional dress and head on down to the river to release a Krathong or (floating baskets) onto the water. These are small containers made of banana leaves and trunk and highly decorated with flowers, incense, candles and flowers, they are to pay respects to the goddess of water and it is believed that all grudges and bad luck will be washed away before been released down the river.

Yee Peng or (Yi Peng) is another way of Loy Krathong, in Thai Yi (Yee) is two and Peng means full moon, this annual celebration occurs on the full moon night in the second month of the Thai lunar calendar, normally held in November but the days change slightly year on year.

Celebrated all around Thailand some of the bigger festivals are held in Sukhothai and Bangkok with the biggest of them held in Chaing Mai. To begin with, the festival was a very local affair with only locals taking part in the flower and lantern releases. As the event grew, a mass lantern releasing was introduced and after some visitors witnessed this, word quickly spread around. Now the event is bigger than ever and celebrated not only by the locals but visitors from all around the world. This is a sight to behold as hundreds and thousands of lanterns are released into the evening sky carrying the good luck wishes and prayers of whoever has released it.

There are plenty of places that you can witness and take part in the lantern releases for free but to get some of the best photo opportunities and memories to last a lifetime then you can purchase a ticket from these places:

Yee Peng Lanna Dhutanka behind Maejo university – this is the most popular place and where the photos and videos on the internet are from. It holds a maximum of 3000 people and the tickets can range from 200USD to 300USD (£163 to £244) for the seat and one lantern.

The second place is the cowboy Army Riding Club, this is a ceremony hosted by the local government and has 2 different dates and held 10km outside for downtown Chiang Mai. The capacity is 3500 to 4000 people and prices are from 90 USD to 120 USD (£74 to £98) a standard ticket includes 1 lantern where the VIP ticket includes 2 lanterns.

Other places are Yee Peng Doi Saket at the Doi Saket Hot springs this is more secluded as it is an out of city event where the lanterns are released into the surrounding countryside. The last place which holds two lantern releases on different days is the Northern Study Centre in the Maerim district.

Wherever you decide to visit for the festival of lights please note that there are rules attached if you do want to take part these are as follows:

  • You must buy a ticket
  • Attendees must wear acceptable clothing (long pants, no bare shoulders, white shirts are preferred)
  • No alcohol is allowed
  • Lanterns must be bought on-site (you cannot take your own with you)

As well as the festival of lights there is also numerous other things that happen all over Chaing Mai such live music, handicraft sessions and the official “Yi Peng Parade around the old city gate and down the Tha Pahe Gate road. You will also be able to sample some of the local delicacies as hordes of food vendors set up to feed the hundreds of tourists around. Firecrackers and fireworks are also popular to buy and set off during this celebration.

Plenty of companies offer packages to visit but if you want to sit back relax and put your feet up there are plenty of rooftop terraces to choose from.

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ULVERSTON LANTERN FESTIVAL 2019

WHAT: ULVERSTON LANTERN FESTIVAL 2019
WHY: LANTERN FESTIVAL PARADE INCLUDING FIREWORK FINALE
WHEN: SATURDAY 14TH SEPTEMBER 2019
WHERE: ULVERSTON TOWN CENTRE AND THEN ONTO FORD PARK
COST: FREE ANNUAL COMMUNITY EVENT

This year’s Ulverston Lantern Festival is being held on 14th September 2018 with the theme ‘Fantastical Beasts.

Lantern festivals have been taking place over in China for over two thousand years and the practice is thought to have been started by Emperor Ming of the Han Dynasty.

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Today’s Chinese Lantern Festivals are celebrated across China and Asia on the 15th day of the new Chinese Calendar.

The Ulverston Lantern Festival back in blighty has been running since 1983 and goes from strength to strength. If you want to create your own lantern, there are workshops around the area which will show you how to do this. You can collect lantern kits from a number of shops/offices and businesses around the area – just pop along to the town and the folk there are very friendly and will be able to direct you to the nearest stockist. Furthermore, they need volunteers to help in the running of the event so if you can offer your assistance, call them on 07761 930627.

The weather forecast is very good with only a small likelihood of rain so get along and show your support and dig deep for the charities collecting on the day.

They are expecting 5000 visitors to witness the parade of over 600 of these beautiful lit lanterns, which will wend its way from the four corners of the town, converging on the main square, creating a four-way river of light which makes for quite the spectacle.

If you are up in the Lakes and are looking for something to do with your family which is gentle and very hands-on, put the event in your diary.

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