Friday, April 2, 2010

A Grand Celebration – Hula Style






The week after Easter on the Big Island of Hawaii marks one of our largest festivals on the island called the Merrie Monarch Festival. This is named in honor of King David Kalakaua,  who brought back the traditional dance of hula to his people during the victorian age and christian missionaries, who shunned this public display of skin and "sexy dancing".  King David was a pure believer of Hula as a beautiful form and primary means of communication and enjoyment. It is a large part of his people's heritage and should be shared by his people in all its forms.





This annual celebration spans an entire week marked with the main hula competition, the Merrie Monarch Parade, art exhibits, dance demonstrations, crafts fairs and everything Hawaiian.  People from all over the islands, the mainland, and many international countries come to the Big Island, just to see this event and share in the aloha of its people.  Every event is filled with travellers and admirers of the hula. Visitors come to enjoy the dance,  comraderie and  feel the (mana) spirit of this magical craft.





The main event is the Merrie Monarch dancing competition of the hula halau's ( hula dancing troups) coming from Hawaii and around the world that have been doing this competition since its inception.  It is an amazing venue to be in, with everyone tightly packed in shoulder to shoulder, intense lights and a loud boisterous crowd.  Music is typically played with amazing live bands, live chanting, celebrity performances and even group participation in many of the chants and lively sing-a-longs.

(Following is a video of female hulas winners from Oahu and their 2009 performance)




The entire audience is deadly silent at the start of each performance and captivated by the swaying, and hypnotic dances unfolding and in the end the entire auditorium stands at their feet, shouting cheers at the top of their lungs with teary eyed adjulation for each and every performance. I'll be writing about some of these special moments and amazing events that happen during the week in upcoming posts. It truly will give you a better idea about why living here in the Big Island of Hawaii is special, including her people.

(Here is the video of the men’s 2009 winners in the competition.)





The final competitions are at the end of next week and I’ll be posting those including some fun events, parades and fairs that happen during this beautiful festival…stay tuned.

17 comments:

debsgarden said...

One highlight of our Hawaii vacation some years ago was the traditional hula dancing we saw. It is a beautiful and emotionally powerful art form. I'm headed to watch the videos now!

Blackswamp_Girl said...

Oh my... I never realized that hula was such a sexy dance! And the muscles those guys must have, to do the floor parts of that--wow. That's a lot of work, and they make it seem so effortless! (I guess that's part of why they won, huh?)

NellJean said...

Decades ago, when the economy was very different from today, there was some friendly competition between Western Airlines and Eastern Airlines which ended with Western bringing an entire luau complete with hula dancers to Atlanta for the delight of the employees of EAL.
About all I remember about it was the very drunk and disgusting man who was next to us and the cute routine one lady did to instruct the hula to participants, 'Bump the apple, bump the orange and gri-i-ind the pea!'

Ami said...

Wow, that is amazing performance! Cannot imagine if you are actually there in person!

Floridagirl said...

Haven't been to Hawaii, but I have seen hula dancers at Disney's Polynesian (does that count as authentic?), and I have to agree with those Victorian assessments! They are amazing athletes and performers. Definitely captivates the audience with their story telling. And the fire dancers...wow!

Edith Hope said...

Greetings Noel, What an exciting posting. How very important it is, I believe, to keep all of these traditions alive for they are such fun and give to so many people hours of enjoyment. I shall very much look forward to reading and seeing how the week develops.

As a child, the 1960s saw a great craze sweep across the country as the hula-hoop made its entry into Britain. I became quite good at it but never of competition standard. I am afraid to say some people, attempting records - hours of hula-hooping - died!!

Happy Easter.

jodi (bloomingwriter) said...

What fun! I think King David has just become one of my heros; anyone who stood up to the Victorian prudes and preacherly types is alright in my books. What a perfect way to celebrate, a joyful, colourful dancing! Happy spring spring spring.

Kate said...

This is marvelous! I'm a huge fan of the islands, visiting every chance I can. I just love the artistry of these very talented dancers. Thanks for sharing and Happy Easter! :)

Dirty Girl Gardening said...

Oh I wsh I were there! :)

gippslandgardener said...

Hello Noel, Sadly I can't get the video to work, but it's probably for the best having read everyone's comments and given I've only just got my morning coffee. It might have all been too much for me ;)

Rothschild Orchid said...

What a fun celebration, so full of colour and life -fantastic!

Just popped by to wish you a Happy Easter,

RO xxx

Rosie said...

I think hula dancing is just exhilarating and oh so colourful - now don't laugh Noel but when I was little my first introduction to hula was through those few Evis Presley movies.

klaraau01 said...

What a beautiful celebration - thank you very much for sharing the experience

CherryPie said...

Looks lovely :-)

Happy Easter to you.

Sprouts, Shoots, and Sunshine said...

Great post! I have always dreamed about visiting Hawaii so I really love reading about Hawaii's festivals and traditions. Maybe some day I'll be lucky enough to come during the Merrie Monarch Festival

EG Wow said...

I think it's great that the old ways were brought back! Now you get to celebrate!

Johnny Nutcase said...

great post, you captured a lot of good emotions here! Nice shots!

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