I found out about this wonderful annual event only this morning, a day too late to participate. But I hope to take place next year.
Please forgive the leaflet above from 2009, and the photos below to which I can give no photographers’ credits. When I hear about this, I did Google and Yahoo searches, but have not found a lot of press about this.
“On September 11th, Rev. T. Kenjitsu Nakagaki, a Japanese Buddhist priest, hosts his annual Lantern Lighting Ceremony at Pier 40 on the Hudson River. He has done so every year on the day of anniversary.”
“An obon ceremony, as it is called, is traditionally done in the summer to commemorate the dead (specifically for the victims of the U.S. bombing of Hiroshima). Small rice paper lanterns are built, families write the name of loved ones who have passed on the lanterns, candles are placed inside and the lanterns are set out to sea.”
“In the New York version, lanterns are set out in kayaks, courtesy of the New York Kayak Club, and bob along the shore of the Hudson . Their soft glow speckle the reflections the twin tower light beams, emanating from Ground Zero.”
“Beginning at 6:00 pm, volunteers encourages the public to write messages and remembrances of loved ones on lantern sleeves. The sleeves are placed into 108 lanterns and distribute them to kayakers who float the lanterns out to sea toward the end of the ceremony.”
“Faith leaders are introduced who represent Hindu, Muslim, Buddhist, Jewish, Christian, Sikh, Afro-Caribbean, and Shinto faiths and traditions. These faith leaders will step forward and individually offer uplifting messages of hope and peace for about three minutes.”
“Musical performances will be interspersed throughout the program with performances by Japanese and American artists.”
“Then, as the sun sets and the “Tribute in Light” shoots into the heavens, dozens of the handmade lanterns will be lit and lowered into the Hudson River. They’ll float for an hour in the waves.”
“All in all, a total of 108 lanterns will float on the Hudson. The number has special meaning in the Buddhist tradition.”
“108 difficulties or suffering in the world like greed, anger and ignorance – but also 108 ways to overcome and reach peace and happiness.”
“Light of hope, light of guidance and also bring some light to the suffering.”