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Toro Nagashi, or “lantern floating” is a traditional custom involving the release of candlelit paper lanterns into a river to symbolize the guiding of the souls of the deceased toward peace.

This is usually done in late summer, during the Bon Festival, which celebrates and honors the spirits of ancestors. This particular event, held at Tama River between Tokyo and Kanagawa Prefecture, however, is to mourn those lost during the Great East Japan Earthquake of 2011 and to pray for those who are still suffering.

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