Together we rise.
I remember the first time I learned about the Rise Festival, it was 2015, and I saw photos of my friends surrounded by lanterns. I knew right then and there that this was something I needed to experience in person.
My first Rise was in 2016, I went with my friend, Leah Suzuki (IG: @bomisuzuki). It was both our first time so we made sure we read reviews so we could be knew what to expect and be well prepared.
The Rise Festival is held every year at the Moapa Indian Reservation, about 30 minutes north of Las Vegas. They have two nights to chose from, Friday or Saturday. Tickets run just a little over a buck, and the cost includes two lanterns. The first release is usually around 8:15, the second one following shortly after followed by fireworks.
The first year we went, Leah and I had heard that traffic coming in can get bad so we got there right at when the gates opened at 3pm. 3pm...5 hours before the first release of lanterns...yup, we sure did avoided traffic. We then spent one hour waiting to get our photo in front of the Rise sign, and then the next 4 hours we talked about our hope and dreams and wrote it down on our lantern.
We also try to avoid the traffic exiting the event, so we just light lantern after lantern after the first release. If you read reviews, people always complain about how long it takes to get out...and we just don't want to tarnish this experience by being stuck in traffic.
There's something so fulfilling about writing everything you're grateful for, everything you want to manifest in the years to come, and watching it float away, like a message to the universe. Last year, one of the things I wrote was that I wanted to share this experience with my boyfriend, and this year it came true.
I'm one of those people who likes to find symbolism in everything. My lantern that I wrote my hopes and dreams on this year...didn't fly. It was so strange, because it felt like it was ready to leap out of my hand, I even had to hold onto it tight because the wind kept trying to take it away from me, and I held onto it because I was afraid it wasn't going to lift off properly. I took that as a message that I can't control everything, I need to put more trust in the process and things will happen when they're going to happen, whether I'm ready or not.
There are no photos, no videos, that can truly show how how magical this experience is. The moment when the darkness is pushed out and the soft glow from the thousands of lanterns surround you...you feel like you're in a fairytale land. I highly recommend everyone attending a lantern festival at least once in their life. I love it so much, I might go again next year for year three.
I hope I see you there!