The Floating of Paper Lanterns held by San Diego WISH on Friday, August 9, 2013, was a tranquil event that not only filled me with humility, but with generosity and compassion. This event was the second part of Peace and Humanity Day organized by San Diego WISH (World Initiative to Safeguard Humanity), in collaboration with the Unified Port of San Diego, the City of Coronado, and the Japan Society of San Diego and Tijuana. The first part of the event was held on Monday, August 5th at the Yokohama Friendship Bell at Shelter Island, to mark the 68th anniversary of the bombings on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Not only held to “promote peace and harmony among all peoples, culture, and nations,” but Peace and Humanity Day is also meant to “educate and inspire communities, kids, youth, families, and leaders for future generations on how to collaborate with people from different backgrounds.” I would highly recommend this annual event to anyone who is interested in generating tolerance and peace amongst all varieties of people.
WHAT: The Floating of Paper Lanterns was Part II of Peace and Humanity Day held by San Diego WISH. The event was free for all ages to attend. Complimentary refreshments consisted of a variety of Japanese dishes, such as takoyaki or karaage, and other donated items. Ryo Sean Okada provided delightful live music for guests, and crafts for paper lanterns were made available for all. In addition, there were a generous amount of prizes donated by sponsors up for raffle.
WHEN: Friday, August 9, 2013. The event began at 6:00 pm, and ended around 8:45 pm. Held annually every year.
WHERE: Patio of Coronado City Council Chambers and Coronado Community Pool
WHY: According to San Diego WISH, “adopting a traditional Japanese ceremony toro nagashi (toro means “lantern” and nagashi means “cruise, flow”), we celebrate peace and humanity by floating paper lanterns with written messages to the world as a hope or wish for global peace and well-being.”
HOW: With the help of sponsors and donations, the Floating of Paper Lanterns flourished in generating an atmosphere of peace and unity for Peace and Humanity Day. A variety of attendees were present from different cultures and different stages of life. The beginning of the event involved creating individualized floating paper lanterns that were to be released after sunset in the Coronado Community Pool. Both children and adults were invited to participate and write messages on each of their paper lanterns, as well as draw or color on them. In addition to the craft activity, there were generous portions of refreshments donated by sponsors. There was also a brief presentation on the history of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, providing not only a reminder but also an example as to why promoting awareness for peace and humanity is important. After the presentation, a raffle was held for those who purchased raffle tickets early in the evening. Some of the prizes consisted of gift certificates for well-known Japanese restaurants such as Okan, Tajima, or Sushi Deli, as well as Japanese cooking materials such as sushi kits or Japanese seasoning kits.
After sunset, all were invited to take their paper lanterns and walk over to the Coronado Community Pool to release their lanterns in the pool, and make their wishes. The paper lanterns graced the pool, and those in attendance quietly witnessed their hopes, dreams, and wishes for the world be embodied in their lanterns, as they floated to spread the message of peace, tolerance, and understanding.
REMARKS/COMMENTS: My favorite characteristic of this event is the push to generate awareness for peace amongst all people and all nations. Generating peace by invoking peace within oneself is one aspect of this event that I take with me. The silent wishes made within the hearts of those who attended the event, as well as the wishes written on the lanterns creates hope for the world and for peace within our world. One of my favorite moments of the event was watching people accidentally tip over a trash can that had wheels on it, which was naively placed next to a plant area with a drop in soil level. And another favorite moment was watching all the lanterns in the pool drift to the outer borders of the pool due to the pool’s filter system creating a current that pushed all the lanterns in that direction. So if you happened to release your lantern at the very end of the drift, your lanterns didn’t really float anywhere except the outer edges of the pool. Haha. Next year that might be something to bring to people’s attention before they release their lanterns. =)
Overall, the event was magical and filled me with hope for peace … and hope for humanity. I loved the message being spread, and I would recommend this event to everyone who would like to join in the promotion of this message.