Slip on your Hula skirt or best Hawaiian shirt for a series of events honoring the ancient traditions of the Hawaiian culture during the Aloha Festivals.
One of Hawaii’s oldest cultural celebrations, the Aloha Festivals that started as part of Aloha Week in 1946, unites artists, musicians, and performers to honor the traditions and cultures of the Islands through music, dance, cuisine and art.
The upcoming Aloha Festivals take place throughout September at several locations on O‘ahu, sharing the history and traditions of Hawaii and the unique spirit of aloha. The wonderful thing about the festival for locals and travelers alike is all the events are free and open to the public.
Each year the Aloha Festivals feature a different theme like present “Hulu Aloha – Beloved Feather Treasures.” This Hawaiian art form is a timeless tradition passed down through generations, and the Aloha Festivals will highlight the masterworks of the late Mary Lou Kekuewa and her daughter Paulette Kahalepuna.
Mary Lou Kekuewa is among Hawaii’s leading featherwork artist, and named a “Living Treasure” by the Honpa Hongwanji for her mastery and perpetuation of the art of feather lei and kāhili. Both, Mary Lou, and her daughter were honored for their dedication to the tradition by the Historic Hawaii Foundation, and the Native Hawaiian Chamber of Commerce.
The Hawaiian culture has long incorporated colorful and intricate featherwork into its symbols and traditions. There is kāhili, which is the feather standard for Hawaiian royalty, and the ‘ahuʻula that is a feathered cloak. Look at the marvelous monuments in Hawaii and you’ll also spot statuesque figures with the mahiole, a helmet adorned with feathers.
Upcoming Events At The Aloha Festivals:
The Aloha Festivals Royal Court Investiture and Opening Ceremony
Experience traditional chanting and the ancient hula kahiko during the Ali‘i, in which the king, queen, prince and princess take their places in the Aloha Festivals Royal Court. During the ceremony the members of the Court receive the royal cloak, helmet, head feather lei and other symbols of their reign.
The featherwork and other symbols of rank that are highly regarded because of their history and ceremonial significance, and are worn each year by the Aloha Festivals Royal Court to perpetuate the pageantry and magnificence of the Ali‘i.
Festival Activities At Pearlridge Center Uptown
The Pearlridge Center celebrates the Aloha Festivals with a series of activities, demonstrations, and ongoing stage performances. While there, look for the Aloha Festivals Royal Court to make a special appearance.
Don’t Miss The Waikīkī Ho‘olaule‘a Block Party
This is Hawaii’s largest most festive block party that takes place on Kalākaua Avenue in the evening. During the he Waikīkī Ho‘olaule‘a there will be plenty of delicious food to sample along with performances by the hula hālau, and the Island’s top entertainers. And, if you’re searching for a unique gift, you’ll find Hawaiian crafts as well as floral lei’s on display and available for purchase.
Aloha Festivals Floral Parade
Traveling along Kalākaua Avenue from Ala Moana Park to Kapi‘olani Park, the Aloha Festivals Floral Parade presents a colorful equestrian procession of costumed long-skirted riders. There will also be exquisite floats with cascades of Hawaiian flowers, hula hālau, marching bands and dignitaries will enliven Kalākaua Avenue.
Practiced by Tahitians, Maoris and Hawaiians, the featherwork techniques differ among groups throughout Polynesia. However, the refined skills and techniques that exemplify the Hawaiian hulu, elevated these artifacts and their craftsmanship to a revered status throughout the Pacific and with collectors around the world.
To check out the full schedule of events during the Aloha Festivals visit their website or call (808) 923-2030.
While in Hawaii here are a few terms you may hear:
Keiki – Children’s musical groups
Hula Hālau – Schools
Kamaʻāina – Local residents
Malihini – Visitors
Aliʻi – Ruling class of the Hawaiian Kingdom
Pā‘ū – Long-skirted horseback riders
Will you check out the Aloha Festivals?