You have come at a MOST Wonderful time
as we celebrate one of THE great weekends of the year.
It's time once again for the
world Olympics of HULA
known as the
Merrie Monarch Festival.
Halau (Hula schools or families) have prepared for a year:
the chant, the hula, the adornments & lei.
Today they gather for the 47th time
from all over the islands,
and (in recent years) from the continent as well,
on the legendary stage of Edith Kanakaole Stadium in Hilo!
for link to info & streaming Hula!
Remember that Hawaiian Standard Time (HST)
is 6 hours later than New York.
Midnight in NYC is 6pm here.
Last evening, walking up Waikiki beach at sunset time,
I heard the strains of Hawaiian music as a trio serenaded our visitors.
"I wanna go back to my little grass shack in Kealakekua Hawaii. . ."
. . . it took me back
to our first morning in the islands, 23 years ago...
...as we ate brunch that day,
and prepared ourselves to fly to our destination,
our new home (sight unseen) on the Big Island called Hawaii.
That long ago day
was the first time I remember hearing the old song.
"WE'RE going to live in a shack in Kealakekua!"
Imagine my honor last eve
at hearing the classic song
and realizing that it is freighted with so much
of my life's story. . .
You would really have to read my little Hawaii novel,
Aloha Where You Like Go?
to understand what that really meant to two refugees
from Normal America.
Suffice it to say,
the Merrie Monarch is a BIG thing here,
and it's a BIG thing to me!
Auntie Dottie, and Uncle George Na`ope,
the real founders of the institution,
both passed this year.
It is the passing of an age,
and this year they will be very near to us
from the moment that the
enters the festival tonight.
Like a big family reunion
we will see the Kumu (Masters of Hula)
and their Halau,
along with the judges and cultural experts,
that we have come to know for decades.
And like a family,
we will meet our new members:
new dancers (Wahine/Women & Kane/Men).
This year, there is even an all-Japanese halau
in from Japan!
You can read other posts about the festival,
and about Uncle George
Do look into the streaming broadcast
via the link near the red festival schedule near the top.
King Kalakaua, the Merrie Monarch himself,
said that Hula is the heartbeat of the Hawaiian people.
It's still beating in the Pahu Drum.
Come be moved with us.
Oh, and you can hear that "corny" grass shack song below.