Monday, April 1, 2013

The Merrie Monarch Festival - A weeklong hula festival

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The whole week right after Easter day celebrations in Hilo, Hawaii is marked with the Merrie Monarch festival which covers everything and anything focused on the beautiful hula dance, competitions and various events celebrating the hula.

This is one of our most beautiful festivals to watch not only for the gorgeous dancing, wonderful live music and colorful outfits, but also for the gorgeous flower leis, head pieces and organic plant materials used as adornments. In the traditional styles of performances, traditional wear is all handmade from local materials including the coloring of costumes. This dancer below wears a crown of palm pods with indigenous flowers and moss for her hairpiece decoration.

Every day is set with amazing hula performances at many venues around Hilo town and many hula halau (hula schools) coming from all over the world converge to enjoy, compete and perform in the festivities. You will see some of the best hula performances in the world at this week long celebration of hula.

The first day of peformances starts on Easter Sunday and is a called the Ho'olaule'a (Hawaiian celebration or event). The event features well known local hula halau (hula schools) from Hawaii Island and is a favorite event with local audiences. Usually the auditorium is packed with audience members supporting their favorite hula halau with loud cheers and whistles. The energy level and spirit of Aloha is alive with the hula dancing along with audience participation.

Many hula halau include young keiki (children) dancing in their age groups and hula performances are encouraged at all ages from young to old. But the keiki hula performances are very popular and fun to watch at the Ho'olaule'a show.

Traditional hula dancing known as hula kahiko is a very popular dance to see and experience. Not only are the costumes handmade, but also their adornments, leis and musical instruments are hand done for each specific performance. Every part of a dance and costume is presented with authentic details with time consuming practise and performance. This is to present a hula dance to the audience so they can experience an authenthic and ancient hula performance.

The modern dance style called hula Auana is also popular with colorful outfits and a beautiful and expressive flowing style. Most hulas dances are typically done in this modern style of dance with popular Hawaiian music performed with an ukulele, guitar and base guitar combination and singers complementing the dance.


Here are a few more performance highlights of last night's event.

The Merrie Monarch Ho'olaulea hula performances in Hilo are just the start of a week long celebration of hula dancing at its finest. The rest of the week comprises of beautiful hula demonstrations, crafts fairs, singing competitions, various competitive dance performances and a colorful parade with the champions of the hula events.

To view more images of this event, please visit my flickr site below

A hui hou (until we meet again) - hopefully at another beautiful hula performance at the Merrie Monarch festival in Hilo.


Gardens at Waters East said...

Just had friends who went off to Hawaii so I hope they got to see some of your festival. Great photos today and I enjoyed my visit. Will be back. Jack

CNA Training said...

A very colorful and beautiful art and culture. So lovely. The pictures are nice.

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