Pū - The sounding of the pū, or Hawaiian conch shell, sanctifies the area and marks the commencement of the ceremony.
Shinnyo Taiko – The sound of the taiko calls people together. It is offered as a prayer for peace, with hope that people reach out in the spirit of creating harmony to support one another.
Oli - This Hawaiian chant calls the attention of all who are present to prepare their hearts to receive the importance of what will follow.
Hula - A visual portrayal of mele (song) or oli (chant) through dance. When the meaning of “Many Rivers, One Ocean” was shared with Hawaiian language scholar Puakea Nogelmeier, he wrote “Ka Lei Moana,” “The Encircling Garland of the Sea,” which has been shared at the Lantern Floating Hawaii ceremony each year since then. Take a moment to learn the meaning of this gift here.
Entrance of Main Lanterns - Six large Main Lanterns carry prayers for all spirits on behalf of all people. Prayers are offered for victims of war, water-related accidents, natural and manmade disasters, famine and disease. Gratitude is offered for all - even endemic, endangered and extinct plant and animal life. These lanterns are floated with the hope of encouraging harmony and peace.
Light of Harmony - In the spirit of friendship, community leaders from various sectors symbolically demonstrate their unified commitment to creating harmony amid diversity.
Blessing and transformation – Her Holiness Shinso Ito offers a blessing of the ceremonial area, the lanterns, all who are being remembered, and all who are participating in person or from afar prior to the floating of lanterns.
Offering of food and water - This ritual symbolizes the offering of spiritual nourishment to the souls of those being remembered.
Strewing of flower petals – Since ancient times, flowers have adorned the path of honored ones. The scattering of flowers on the path symbolizes the love and respect that we offer to our loved ones.
Shomyo – A fusion of traditional Buddhist chant and Western choral harmony.
Ringing of the Bell - The crystal clear sound of Her Holiness Shinso Ito's bell focuses everyone's thoughts and prayers and signifies that it is time to float the lanterns.
Floating of Lanterns - Lanterns are placed onto the water with wishes for the peace and happiness of loved ones past while unveiling courage and hope in the hearts of those in the present.