Lantern Floating Hawaii at Ala Moana Beach Park in Honolulu

Lantern Floating Hawaii is a beautiful ceremony held on Memorial Day to honor loved ones who are no longer with us. This event brings 50,000 Honolulu residents together for a collective and personal moment of remembrance. Floating lanterns with messages of gratitude, love, and hope to loved ones lost are launched by family and friends from the beach at Ala Moana Beach Park at dusk. It’s an amazingly beautiful and peaceful; the lights illuminating the ocean are mesmerizing.

Lantern Lighting 1

Ala Moana Beach Park filled with people waiting for the Lantern Floating Hawaii ceremony to begin.

When remembering the fallen soldiers on Memorial Day, in Hawaii, residents also remember and honor lost loved ones. Many visit gravesites to pay respects and to deliver leis, and in the evening, residents make their way to Honolulu’s Ala Moana Beach Park for the Lantern Floating Hawaii ceremony, which brings thousands of people every year.

People on the beach

Thousands of people attending the Lantern Floating Hawaii ceremony.

The first ceremony was held in 1999 and has been held each year ever since. With the diverse population, the Lantern Floating Hawaii celebration is an opportunity for everyone to gather together in a common space to honor those who are no longer with us. It doesn’t matter what cultural background, religion, or customs one follows, Lantern Floating Hawaii is a place for everyone to come together to pay their respects.

canoe on water

Some of the lanterns arriving on canoes.

The event is free of charge, but donations are always welcome. Floating lanterns are picked up in the morning at Ala Moana Beach Park. The line can be long, but it moves fairly quickly while thousands of lanterns are given out to participants. Beautiful messages of love are written on the paper lantern that attaches to a foam floaty. A candle is lit inside right before launching the lantern into the ocean. Watching the lanterns float away, with music playing in the background on loudspeakers, is a beautiful sight.

With Waikiki as the backdrop, participants gather to watch the ceremony live on stage or on huge screens. Even with thousands of people in attendance, it’s easy to see all the performances and tributes.

Lantern Lighting

Performances at the Lantern Floating Hawaii ceremony.

There are approximately 7000 lanterns floated at the Lantern Floating Hawaii ceremony. Some of the lanterns are brought in on canoes, with the rest brought in by individuals.

While thousands participate in person, the event is also live streamed around the world and watched by thousands more. In case you missed it, you can watch the full Lantern Floating Hawaii 2018 Original Broadcast from Floating Lanterns Hawaii.


People sending their lanterns with messages to loved ones who are no longer with us.

Floating Lanterns Hawaii is such a touching experience. Seeing all the messages of love floating out in the ocean, is so beautiful and emotional. Each lantern represents someone who is no longer here but is very much loved and remembered. Parents, grandparents, kids, aunts, uncles, friends. Gone but never forgotten.


Beautiful lanterns filled with messages floating in the waters off of Ala Moana Beach Park.

Residents who live in the nearby Kakaako condos and Park Lane Ala Moana are lucky to be so close to the park. Since Ala Moana Beach Park is right across the street, it’s easy to participate in this beautiful event every year. Even with so many people attending, parking is not an issue, as additional parking is typically available at the Convention center, with shuttles and Handi Vans available before and after the Lantern Floating Hawaii ceremony. This celebration is so dear to the people of Oahu that thousands find a way to attend regardless of a little parking inconvenience.

Kakaako condos

Kakaako condos across from Ala Moana Beach Park.

As the ceremony comes to a close and people make their way back home, some stop by Ala Moana Shopping Center, as it is directly across from the park. Others take time to go for dinner at one of many nearby restaurants to enjoy time with loved ones and friends. Memorial Day is always an important holiday to honor our fallen heroes. In Hawaii, the Lantern Floating Hawaii ceremony honors fallen heroes, and also gives people an opportunity to come together, regardless of background, for a collective moment of remembrance, reflection, and to offer gratitude to those who have gone before us.

Park Lane Ala Moana

Crowds leaving Ala Moana Beach Park after a beautiful ceremony. Park Lane condos in the background.

If you live on Oahu, or you plan on visiting Oahu over the Memorial Day weekend, definitely make plans to attend next year’s Lantern Floating Hawaii ceremony. This is just one of many events happening in Honolulu, and it’s a beautiful one. The people of Honolulu are amazing, and this event demonstrates just how much love the people of Hawaii have for one another. I’m proud to call Honolulu home!

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Hawaii life and Chrisite's real estate kinga mills

About the Author

Kinga Mills

Kinga Mills is a REALTOR Associate, Luxury Portfolio Affiliate, Military Relocation Professional with Hawai'i Life. I adore Hawaii, its people, and the natural beauty that surrounds me. I live on Oahu. It's a pretty incredible place to call home. There is a little bit of everything here. From pristine beaches and quiet neighborhoods to the trendiest of restaurants in the urban Honolulu. I simply love Oahu and the variety it offers. My real estate career allows me to enjoy the Island life, and to work with some amazing people. With over a decade of experience and hundreds of closed sales, I provide my clients with expert buying and selling advice. My goal for clients is to enjoy the process, while my team and I handle the details. As a member of the Hawaii Life Military Specialized Team, I regularly provide real estate assistance to active-duty military personnel who are PCSing to Hawaii, to the mainland, or overseas. For the Luxury Real Real Estate buyers and sellers, I am affiliated with Luxury Portfolio International and Forbes Global Properties. These exclusive affiliations extend an even greater reach, exposure, and effectiveness within the global luxury marketplace. In my time off, I love walking along the beach, enjoying meals out on the town, and taking family vacations. Sign up for my Oahu Hawaii Life blog updates and follow my journey. You can also find me on HGTV "Hawaii Life" Season 14. I look forward to helping in making your Hawaii Life real estate dreams happen! You can email me at or via phone at (808) 722-3985.

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Robert Ambeau

April 29, 2019

Ms. Mills,
My name is Robert Ambeau, Director of Hot Air Balloon Operations. I would like to speak to you in further details about bringing a 7 story tall hot air balloon to the Lantern Floating in the month of may 2020. A hot air balloon has a special valve that makes the balloon glow like a light bulb. It would make the event even more Spectacular than it already is.
I have been involved in ballooning for over 30 years. I also been a part of and involved in Balloon Events all over the United States. Looking forward to hearing your input on this. I look forward to your reply. I will send pictures after your response.
Thank you,
Robert Ambeau

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