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May 29, 2006

Toro Nagashi

Toro nagashi, or lantern offering, is a traditional Buddhist rite that honors the dead. In Hawaii, a special ceremony combines toro nagashi with Memorial Day observances. Paper lanterns and candles are placed on small wooden boats that bear blessings and messages, and they are released at sunset at Magic Island. It's a breathtaking sight. This year, we entered the names of my grandmothers. Irene Caitano Henderson on my mother's side, and Hanako Ozawa on my father's side.

The audio accompanying this video includes a Hawaiian chant for King Kalakaua by Nalani Olds and an `ukulele rendition of "Ave Maria" by Jake Shimabukuro.

You can also view this video at YouTube, Blip.TV, or Google Video. Directly download the above Quicktime movie (240x180/37MB) file, a larger version (320x240/285MB), or the iPod-optimized file (MP4/31MB) here, courtesy the Internet Archive. The MP4 served up in the feed is here.

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Posted by Ryan at 11:01 PM | Comments (6)