Thousands pack Ala Moana Beach Park for 2014 lantern floating ce - FOX Carolina 21

Thousands pack Ala Moana Beach Park for 2014 lantern floating ceremony

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HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) -

Tens of thousands of people lined the shores at Ala Moana Beach Park this Memorial Day for the 2014 Lantern Floating Hawaii ceremony.

"Although there may be 40,000 or more people here...there's somehow a moment to yourself," said Roy Ho, Executive Director for Na Lei Aloha Foundation. 

View our 2014 Lantern Floating Hawaii Slideshow on a mobile device: http://bit.ly/1gwznhp

According to organizers, 6,000 candle-lit lanterns were set afloat from Magic Island in remembrance of loved ones who have passed, or as symbolic prayer for a harmonious and peaceful future. Themed "Many Rivers, One Ocean," the annual Lantern Floating Hawaii ceremony gathers those of all backgrounds to offer a collective experience of warmth, compassion and understanding. The subtheme for this year's ceremony was "Friendship."

The 90-minute ceremony and program started at 6 p.m. and included Makaha Sons and the Shinnyo-en Shomyo and Taiko Ensembles.

Those attending the ceremony received a lantern to personally float, or write their remembrance on special forms that were placed on collective remembrance lanterns to be floated by volunteers.

Mary Jo Kapahu from Kaneohe came to pay tribute to her 17-year-old son, Patrick, who was killed in a tragic skateboarding accident seven years ago.

"I know that he's a soul of many and there's a lot of people there with him taking care of him because I can't be there," she said. 

At 6:45 p.m., Her Holiness Shinso Ito, Head of Shinnyo-en, addressed the audience, followed by the lighting of the Light of Harmony. After the lighting, the lanterns were set afloat onto the waters of Ala Moana Beach by the general public and volunteers.

"It's just so beautiful.  All the different people...every race, color just coming together to share," Michigan resident Derry Browder said.

At the conclusion of the ceremony, as in past years, all lanterns were collected from the ocean and restored for use in the upcoming years.

View our 2014 Lantern Floating Hawaii Slideshow on a mobile device: http://bit.ly/1gwznhp

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