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lantern festival @ forest hills

July 17, 2009

here’s a description of the lantern festival from the forest hills website.

Join us for a moving memorial ceremony inspired by Buddhist rituals. Inscribe a lantern with a personal message to friends or family and float it across Lake Hibiscus at sunset.

In this breathtaking ceremony of remembrance, visitors to this lush, Victorian landscape make paper lanterns and set them afloat on the peaceful waters of a small lake. This ritual is based on the traditional Japanese Bon Festival, a time when a door opens to the world of the ancestors, allowing us to send messages to the other side. People enjoy picnics on the grass and a multi-cultural program of music and dance. They decorate their lanterns with calligraphy and notes to those who have died. At sunset, a candle is lit in each lantern, and the glimmering lanterns are set afloat. Drifting and flickering with the wind, the lanterns symbolize the soul’s journey when life ends.

the lantern festival is one of my most favorite events in boston. forest hills is absolutely gorgeous too and the perfect site for it. i wish i was a better photographer so i could really share the beauty and serenity of it all!

i love walking through the cemetery to get to the lantern festival. it’s a just a little bit eerie, but so beautiful at the same time. i always feel overwhelmed by how much history must be buried around me.

when you get to the lake, you pick up a rice paper lantern and get it painted with a character of your choice. i chose “hope.”


then you go to another table set up with markers to decorate it and write messages to those who have passed.


after you finish decorating and assembling your lantern, it’s time to find a cozy spot around the lake.


here’s my lantern:


i wrote a message to a close friend i lost a few years ago…i’m going to keep that private, but i will share my lil’ shout out to my pumpkin pie who is in puppy heaven.


i miss my little baby 😦

tommy and i enjoyed a little picnic while waiting for the sun to set…


here’s what i packed:

a soba salad w/ peanut sauce for me, sandwiches for tommy, and fruit n’ m&m’s to share.


romaine, veggies, and green tea soba noodles…yummy


as it gets dark, people start lighting their lanterns and placing them in the lake…








so pretty. i hope you enjoyed the pictures and if you live in the area, maybe i’ll see you there next year.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. July 17, 2009 9:13 pm

    What a beautiful ritual to partake in! I would send a message to my grandparents whom I dearly miss every day.

  2. July 18, 2009 6:01 pm

    What a lovely way to remember loved ones. I bet that was very healing 🙂 Your lantern is lovely. Great photos.

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