It has been a few years since we last went to the Jamaica Plain Lantern Festival. This was the 11th year for the event and the crowd has gotten much larger. The Lantern Festival is held every year at the Forest Hills Cemetary in Jamaica Plain. The admission was free. There were taiko drummers, Kendo demonstrations, and lantern painting.
We got there around 7:30 and had a nice picnic dinner with some friends. We also took the occassion to celebrate Bill, Irfan, and Carolyn's birthdays with a yummy cake, which we finished around dusk. The timing was perfect as it was then that they started the lighting of the lanterns.
The Jamaica Plain Lantern Festival is similar to the Japanese Obon Holiday, at which ancestral spirits are believed to return to their families to visit for three days. Families gather to pay their respects with offerings of food and drink. Lanterns are lit outside the house to symbolically guide the returning souls to the home.
On the last evening of the holiday, lanterns once again guide the departed back to their resting places. The inscriptions on the lanterns carry well wishes and words of love and peace.
It was quite an amazing sight to see hundreds of these lanterns drifting slowly about the pond, making random patterns as they congregated and separated. We are happy we got to enjoy this evening with friends past and present. We hope to be back to visit with them again next year. [Permalink] - Jamaica Plain Lantern Festival
BTW, for readers who were wondering about the effectiveness of the vibration reduction feature of the Nikkor 18-200mmVR lens, all of these images were shot hand-held!