From 10 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., the public had a chance to taste,
free of charge, Hawaiian culture through dancing, food booths,
and arts and handicrafts. The food included everything from
Kalua pork to malasadas, with Pizza Hut for the less curious
ones. The art booths offered handicrafts such as Hawaiian
quilts and hats, leis, clothes, and jewelry.
The public even had a chance to be interactive with Hawaiian
culture through a booth where anyone, for a small fee, could
learn how to make an ipu. The ipu, a small drum, is named
after the Hawaiian bottle gourd that once grew all over the
islands. Traditionally, the ipu was not just an instrument
accompanying hula; it was also used to make bowls, masks,
helmets, cups, and shovels.
At another stand, visitors had an opportunity to learn about
and try the ancient Hawaiian form of massage, Lomilomi. Lomilomi
was, and still is, used as an art of healing and it differs
from other types of massage partly because the receiver lies
on the floor on a mat and because the massage is done with
fingers, palms, elbow strokes, and the feetmeaning the
masseuse walks on the receivers back. People once sought
Lomilomi as treatment for many different conditions including
fractures, upset stomach, internal disorders, dislocations,
and childbirth. Today many just seek relaxation for a stressed
This year, the Queen Emma Hawaiian Civic Club demonstrated
traditional paani kahiko (Hawaiian games). Hawaiians
played games not just for enjoyment and amusement, but also
for physical training to prepare for hunting and warfare.
Some of the games displayed were Oo ihe (spear
throwing), Hakoko (standing wrestling), Ulu maika (rolling
stone disks), and Palaie (loop and ball).
The annual festival honors Prince Lot Kapuaiwa who reigned
as King Kamehameha V from 1863-1872. During this time, Christian
missionaries convinced Christianized royalty to make hula
illegal. In spite of this, Prince Lot hosted several luaus
(dinner parties) at his cottage in Moanalua Gardens where
hula and mele entertained his guests.
In 1874, when King David Kalakua came to the throne, he made
hula legal again, restoring the tradition so that it could
grow and evolve. During this time, the ukulele was introduced,
borrowed from the Portuguese immigrants, and with it the steel
guitar. Still, the most important element in hula is the chanting.
Many chants tell the tales of Pele, the fiery goddess from
the Big Island, who was in love with the chanter Lohiau
from Kauai. The legend that locates Molokai as
the birthplace of Hawaiian hula tells about Lailai
who came to Hawaii from the Marquesas.
Thanks to hula halaus, hula competition, and hula festivals
such as this one, Hawaiian culture is kept alive and passed
on to the next generation of both Hawaiians and the public.
Sources: www.mgf-hawaii.com, http:// www.aloha-hawaii.com/