Friday, April 2, 2010
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.