Big Island’s largest lantern release ceremony set for May 28 at Reeds Bay in Hilo

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Lighted lanterns float in the ocean at the 2022 Celebration of Life. (Andrew Hara)

Hawaiʻi Care Choices, formerly Hospice of Hilo, will host its 19th Annual Celebration of Life on May 28 at Reeds Bay Beach Park in Hilo.

The event, which runs from 3:30 to 7:30 p.m. will include the largest lantern release ceremony on the Big Island.

This event also will allow hundreds of families to honor the memory of their loved ones who have passed and recognize countless healthcare workers who have served and continue to serve these families for the past four decades.

Families and community members line up to launch their lanterns into the ocean at the 2022 Celebration of Life. (Andrew Hara)

Event festivities will include entertainment, food trucks and activity booths from local businesses and non-profit organizations.

In addition, the 2023 Obon Season for the entire island will begin at this event. The island’s famous Hilo’s Bon Dance Club from the Meishon Temple will engage the audience with fun and popular Bon Dance selections for the first time in three years.

The official lighted lantern ceremony will begin once the beach is prepared with special ocean mats for the safety of participants across all ages. After prayers and blessings of multiple faiths, people will be able to launch their beautifully and lovingly decorated lanterns.

Participants decorate their lanterns to honor their passed loved ones at 2022 Celebration of Life. (Andrew Hara)

The event serves not only as a memorial, but also as an opportunity of healing for many grieving community members.

Luminaries to decorate are available for purchase online at the Hawaiʻi Care Choices website until May 26 for $25 while supplies last.

They can be picked up on Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Hawaiʻi Care Choices headquarters, 1011 Waianuenue Ave. in Hilo.


All parking will be at the Civic Auditorium with free continuous shuttles beginning at 2:30 p.m. to Reeds Bay until 6 p.m.

Return shuttles to the Civic from Reeds Bay will begin immediately following the lanterns release.

Staff and volunteers collect all lanterns released into the water after the ceremony to prevent any ocean pollution.

For more information visit the Hawaiʻi Care Choices website at or call 808-969–1733.

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