Today being Memorial Day and all...Eve and I went to the Lantern Floating Hawaii Memorial Day celebration. It was amazing! I have to tell you that I'm constantly amazed myself at what she gets...I mean really gets. I will explain the story behind this event, in case you are unaware as I was prior to hearing about it here...but first let me tell you about my kid. :)
We are standing on the beach watching the lanterns being released into the ocean and I'm explaining to her what it all means. For some reason, I always get a little teary at events such as this...I also cry on the 4th of July during fireworks...and I'm trying to not show a huge amount of emotion as I'm telling her this. I'm telling Eve what all the lanterns mean and why people are doing it and she looks up at me with those big blue eyes and pets my arm and says in the sweetest voice "Thanks for explaining all of that to me, Mom. It's so beautiful." Lord, let me tell you I almost melted into a puddle.
Ok, so the lantern floating...I will cut and paste now from the website...because truthfully I couldn't reword it any better if I tried.
Lantern floating is a time-honored Buddhist rite, originating in Japan, conducted in order to pay respects to our ancestors and to comfort the spirits of the deceased. During Toro-Nagashi, or "lantern offerings on the water," candle-lit lanterns are individually set afloat on the ocean and are said to ferry spirits "from the sea of delusion to the shore of salvation."
Moreover, the lanterns carry our heartfelt prayers for those who have sacrificed their lives in war, victims of water-related accidents, natural disasters, famine and disease, as well as loved ones and ancestors who have passed away. Through the lantern floating ceremony, the sincere prayers of everyone are united… prayers for a future in which harmony exists among all people regardless of one’s race, religion or culture.
Because of this sentiment and goal, Lantern Floating Hawai'i has become accepted as more than just a Buddhist tradition, more than something only related to Hawaii in nature. It is a human thing.