Lanterns float on the water at Ala Moana Beach Park

Photo: Jamm Aquino / Star-Advertiser

Memorial Day offers the chance to honor military personnel who have died while serving in the U.S. Armed Forces.

Observed on the final Monday of May each year, Memorial Day is a cherished and time-honored holiday in Hawaii. As such, there are plenty of events held over Memorial Day weekend on Oahu, offering numerous opportunities to show your gratitude and pay your respects.

Hawaii Memorial Day Parade

The annual Memorial Day Parade kicks off with a memorial ceremony held at Fort DeRussey in Waikiki. A parade then proceeds down Kalakaua Avenue for 1 mile, before continuing along Monsarrat Avenue to Kapiolani Park.

The parade theme is “remembering the past and celebrating our future,” and that theme is brought to life by marching bands, floats, military groups and local and national dignitaries and organizations.

The 2023 Memorial Day Parade begins at 5 p.m. on May 29. Arrive early to get a good view, as the free event draws large crowds every year.

Mayor’s Memorial Day Ceremony at Punchbowl Crater

The National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific, commonly referred to as Punchbowl Crater, is the resting place of more than 25,000 veterans who served in the military. Each year on Memorial Day, the Honolulu Department of Parks and Recreation coordinates a ceremony to honor those men and women.

The 2023 Mayor’s Memorial Day Ceremony begins at 8:30 a.m. on Monday, May 29 at Punchbowl Crater.

The cemetery is located at 2177 Puowaina Drive and is open to the public and accessible by car, though parking restrictions are generally in place on Memorial Day. For the latest information on the Mayor’s Memorial Day Ceremony at Punchbowl, call (808) 532-3720 or visit

Lantern Floating Ceremony

The Shinnyo Lantern Floating Hawaii ceremony takes place on Memorial Day each year, drawing an estimated 50,000 people to Ala Moana Beach Park and thousands more around the world via live stream.

Specially crafted floating lanterns, inscribed with personal messages and prayers, are sent floating on the ocean in a touching, beautiful show of remembrance.

The 2023 lantern floating ceremony will be held on May 29 from 6:30 p.m. – 7:30 p.m.

Reservations for a lantern are required and will be available on a first-come, first-served basis from May 15-May 28. Proof of reservation will be emailed, and you will be required to pick up a lantern at Ala Moana Beach Park on May 29 from 10 a.m. until 5 p.m., or on May 20, May 21, May 24, May 25, and May 26 between 1 p.m. – 4 p.m. at Shinnyo-en Hawaii (2348 S. Beretania St.) depending on your chosen date, time, and site.