Our First Ever Social Media Lantern

With Bon Festival just under four (!) weeks away, we’re highlighting what’s new this year, beginning with our favorite addition to the Obon repertoire – our Social Media Lantern.

Each year at Bon Festival, Morikami staff handcrafts close to 1,000 paper lanterns, inscribed with messages from our visitors to loved ones who have passed away.  At the end of the night, each lantern, lit by a single candle, is released into Morikami Lake as part of tōrō nagashi: literally, lantern floating.   These lanterns are meant to guide visiting spirits, who have returned during Obon for a brief visit to the living, back to the otherworld.

Last year 9,000 guests at Bon Festival watched hundreds of lanterns cover Morikami Lake in glowing, floating rectangles.  Hundreds caught them on film, and dozens shared these photos with our online community on Facebook and Twitter, more than 20,000 strong and growing.  We reach fans throughout the US, but our second largest Facebook audience tunes in today from Colombia, then the UK, Canada, Japan, Spain, Peru, and so on. Short of hopping on a plane to join us next month, how can our most faraway fans experience the magic of Obon too?

Enter our Social Media Lantern.  We’re asking you, our online community, to share messages to loved ones lost to complete the lantern we’ll display at this year’s Bon Festival (and of which we’ll share photos afterwards – via social media, of course).  Submit your message on Facebook through our Social Media Lantern button or on Twitter with #mylantern.  Joining us but want to share your message anyway?  Please do; our first ever Social Media Lantern connects our entire online community.

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