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Photo: Shutterstock
Photo: Shutterstock

BY JOSH TOWNER

The Buddhist City Council and HarborLAB have invited the public to decorate floating lanterns at the Gantry Plaza State Park this Sunday, Sept. 16, from 2 to 9 p.m.

As announced, the event kicks off a weeklong celebration of the United Nations International Day of Peace, which officially takes place on Sept. 21. The 2018 theme is “The Right to Peace.”

The lanterns are made from recycled and compostable materials and will be decorated with pictures and messages of hope for a peaceful and healthy planet. The total number of lanterns will be 108, a sacred number in Buddhist, Jain and Hindu traditions.

HarborLAB founder and executive director Erik Baard and Reverend Toshikazu Kenjitsu Nakagaki, president of the Buddhist Council of New York, began the floating lanterns ceremony in 2002 in response to the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.

In addition to the decorating and releasing of floating lanterns, the event will include guided meditation, kayaking and canoeing, various crafts, several speakers and interfaith prayers.

Speakers will include elected officials, diplomats and scientists. interfaith leaders and scientists.

“We are happy to encourage the United Nations’ work for peace through this day of meditation, arts, and family fun that culminates in a modern adaptation of an ancient ceremony,” said Reverend Nakagaki.

Organizations such as the Interfaith Center of New York, Global Movement for the Culture of Peace, TF Cornerstone and the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation have also partnered to make this event possible.

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