Next week from April 24th through the 30th the 47th Annual Merrie Monarch Hula Festival is coming back to Hilo, Hawai’i again. I’m sure everyone in Hawai’i is familiar with the Merrie Monarch Festival but if you aren’t it is week-long cultural festival that honors King David Kalakaua.
Kalakaua was credited with restoring many Hawaiian cultural traditions during his reign, including the Hula (Hawaiian dance). The Merrie Monarch is the biggest Hula competition in the world.
Many Halau Hula (Hula Groups) who attend the competition come from all over the world including the U.S. mainland, Japan, and other Polynesian countries such as Aotearoa (New Zealand), Tahiti, Samoa, Tonga, etc.
Besides the Hula competition itself there are craft fairs, art shows, hula shows, and a grand parade through Hilo town.
The Merrie Monarch has seven Hula competitions, the Kane Overall (Best out of the men), Wahine Overall (Best out of the Women), the Kane Kahiko (Mens Traditional Hawaiian), Wahine Kahiko (Womens Traditional Hawaiian), the Kane ‘Auana (Mens Modern Hawaiian), Wahine ‘Auana (Womens Modern Hawaiian), and Miss Aloha Hula, which as an individual competition amongst the best women dancers.
My favorite competition to watch every year is the Miss Aloha Hula competition because it shows individual talent amongst the best women dancers. Last year my friend Kapua Desa got second place for Miss Aloha Hula and I would like to share her amazing Hula Kahiko performance.
Here is sneak-preview of the Merrie Monarch Festival competitors as they prepare themselves. Brought to you by ‘Ahai ‘Olelo Ola