|Lanterns at Dusk|
The Lantern Festival is based on the Japanese Bon Festival, a Japanese Buddhist custom that honors the spirits of the deceased. During the festival, it is believed that the door to the ancestral world opens, allowing messages from family members to be sent to the other side.
Using decorative lanterns, participants can write messages to their loved ones, and calligraphers are available to inscribe shades with messages in Chinese or Japanese characters. At dusk, the lanterns are lit and then launched on Lake Hibiscus, the cemetery's central lake. Volunteers are available to assist you with lighting your lantern.
Before You Go
- Bring a Picnic. Blankets, food, drinks, mosquito spray, and a flash light (for finding your way after dark) are highly recommended.
- Show Up Early & Make a Lantern. The lines can get long, so arrive on the earlier side to allow for enough time to pick up a lantern shade and visit the calligraphy table.
- Drive or Take Public Transport. The Cemetery runs adjacent to the Forest Hills T station where the Orange Line and many buses are available. Parking is also available onsite for $10.
- Be Respectful. Remember that those who have created lanterns are offering messages and prayers to loved ones. Keep loud voices to a minimum.