hawaii: info/culture Archives

April 7, 2008

the Merrie Monarch Festival

The Merrie Monarch Festival began forty-five years ago and is held annually in Hilo starting on Easter Sunday. The Merrie Monarch Festival, which helps to promote the importance of the Hawaiian culture, includes art exhibits, craft fairs, demonstrations, performances, a parade, and a three-day hula competition. Women compete on Thursday night. Both men and women compete on Friday and Saturday nights.

For more information (including tons of info, photos, videos, etc.) check out this link and if you are interested in reading a blog about the Merrie Monarch Festival, check out this Merrie Monarch Journal Blog.

Miss Aloha Hula on Thursday
The winner of the 2008 Miss Aloha Hula competition was Kalimakuhilani Suganuma of Keolalaulani Halau 'Olapa O Laka, a Kaneohe halau. (Photo by DENNIS ODA)

Hula Kahiko on Friday
The kane exude raw energy in their kahiko as shown by Halau Ke Kai O Kahiki. (Photo by DENNIS ODA)

Hula 'Auana on Saturday
Halau Na Lei Kaumaka O Uka of Kula, Maui used pinwheel movements in their choreography during the auana competition. (Photo by DENNIS ODA)

For a list of winners, click on this link.

The 46th Annual Merrie Monarch Festival (2009) hula competition is scheduled for next year from April 16-18, 2009. Get your tickets now if you are interested in attending :-)

November 12, 2008

blogs about Hawaii

I would like to share a couple of Hawaii blogs...

The first is Honolulu Daily Photos.
I discovered this blog a couple of years ago in a round about way through some of the daily photo blogs and then again through City Daily Photo, a blog which posts entries from various daily photo blogs from around the world. The Honolulu Daily Photos blog does not post a photo daily anymore, but the photos that are posted on this blog are always fabulous. They represent many areas of Oahu and not just the city of Honolulu. If you have some free time check out this blog.

The second is Beat of Hawaii and Beyond.
The full name of this blog is: Beat of Hawaii and Beyond: Travel Deals, Tips, Events, Culture - A Travel Chronicle from Hawaii. I discovered this blog through Pauline's Slow Europe blog last spring. The Beat of Hawaii blog shares lots of great travel deals and tips as well as other interesting information related to Hawaii. If you are planning to travel to or from Hawaii in the near future or just want to learn more about Hawaii, check out this blog.

February 11, 2009


Have you ever heard of poi? Have you tried poi? If you have, did you like it?

I LOVE poi!

Poi is a staple of the traditional Hawaiian diet. Poi is made from mashing up the root of the taro plant. Poi is a very nutritious food. For more on the specifics of poi, check out this link and this link.

I can't remember the first time I tried poi, but it was probably soon after I moved to Hawaii. I'm not sure why, but the first few times I ate poi, it reminded me of the baby food plums I used to love to eat when I was little. I have never met anyone else that compares poi to baby food plums so it is probably just a strange comparison I make. I have heard of people comparing poi to paste though. I don't understand this comparison at all. Poi is delicious and this is coming from a very picky eater. I think people that think eating poi is like eating paste go into it with a certain attitude and have never really given poi a chance.

I love my poi sour and I definitely don't put sugar in my poi. When I first started eating poi, I preferred to eat it combined with lomi lomi salmon or chicken but now I am just as happy to eat it all by itself. There is a Hawaiian Food stand in the Ala Moana Shopping Center food court. I sometimes stop by and order a little bowl of poi. The ladies are always amazed that this haole girl will just order a bowl of poi all by itself.

Taro brand poi is my favorite brand of poi. You can buy poi at any grocery store. This is a photo of a few bags of poi on the grocery store.

If you look closely, you will see that this bag of poi has a green tie.

The colored ties correspond with the delivery dates on the chart posted by the poi. The color of the tie will tell you how old the poi. I usually like to buy my poi two or three days old. The older the poi, the more sour it will be.

You will find these instructions on the back of the bag of poi:

Mixing Instructions for a 16 oz. bag of poi:
1. Add 8 ounces or 1 cup of water to bag.
2. Knead the poi to loosen from the bag.
3. Pour into a bowl and stir until smooth.

To prevent poi from crusting, float 1/4 inch of water on the surface. Refrigerate mixed poi to retain freshness or leave at room temperature to age poi to desired tartness.

As you can see, I didn't do the best with getting all of the lumps out of my bowl of poi, but that was ok with me. I ate half of this bowl of poi as part of my dinner one night and finished up the poi the following night. Yummy!!

Three day weekend coming up :)

April 19, 2009

the 46th Annual Merrie Monarch Festival

This weekend was the 46th Annual Merrie Monarch Festival hula competition. To learn more about the Merrie Monarch Festival, click here and check out the post I wrote last year on the Merrie Monarch Festival hula competition.

I was very excited to watch the Merrie Monarch this year because I knew someone who was dancing. Friday night's Kahiko competition has always been my favorite night of the Merrie Monarch. My friend's halau ended up placing first in the Wahine Kahiko competition. Even if my friend was not dancing for Hālau Na Mamo O Pu'uanahulu, I would still have chosen their performance as my favorite.

(photo is from the Honolulu Advertiser and is linked to the photos of the Hula Kahiko competition)

I am not able to embed the video of their performance. This link will take you to the video. If you don't have time to watch the entire performance, skip to 2:52 where you will catch a little of the chanting, see Jami in the middle, and then see (in my opinion) the best part of their performance.

There were so many wonderful performance by both the Wahine (women) and Kane (men). Here is a link to the second place Wahine Kahiko performance (another one of my favorite performances) and here is a link to the first place Kane Kahiko performance.

Saturday night, Hālau Na Mamo O Pu'uanahulu placed second in the Hula 'Auana competition. Hālau Na Mamo O Pu'uanahulu also placed first in the Wahine Overall competition. I was thrilled for my friend.

This link will take you to the list of awards for all of the competitions as well as links to more videos and slideshows of all of the events. Scroll down towards the bottom for the list of winners. There is an error with the year listed for the overall winner and 2nd place overall winner. It should say 2009 and not 2008.

June 11, 2010

annual lei-draping ceremony

Today is the 138th annual King Kamehameha Day celebration. King Kamehameha Day is a state holiday in Hawaii. Every year on June 11th, Hawaii celebrates Kamehameha I, the first king of the Hawaiian Islands with a lei-draping ceremony. This is the first time I have attended this event in person. I probably would not have gone if Colleen was not here visiting. Thank you Colleen!! Here are some photos of the event.








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June 18, 2013

floating lantern ceremony

The Floating Lantern Ceremony has taken place in Hawaii on Memorial Day every year since 1999. I have watched this ceremony on TV for the past couple of years and have wanted to attend but the crowds (approx 40,000 people) have always kept me away. A friend of mine talked about wanting to go and so we decided to go together, along my friend's niece who was visiting and another friend of hers.

We got there around 3:30, parking across the street at Ala Moana Center. We thought it was too late to get lanterns since people start lining up around 5 in the morning. Lucky us! There were sill some lanterns left. After we picked up our lantern, we went to one of the tables set up to write messages to our loved ones who have passed away.

The ceremony started at 6 pm. There were big screens set up at different points down the beach. We found a spot near one of the screens. The ceremony was a combination of Japanese music (taiko drums and other instruments), Hawaiian music & hula, and Buddhist chants.






At the end of the ceremony, we put our lanterns together, sticking the four sides of the paper lantern onto the little foamy boat shape, putting the rudder in, and then putting the candle in the hole in the center. Volunteers were scattered up and down the beach ready to light each candle. Everyone walked down to the water to float their lanterns. I had no idea just how far I was going to have to go in the water. I thought maybe up to my knees but I ended up walking into the water up to my waist!







It was a very moving ceremony. I am really glad I went. Here is a link that contains more detailed explanation of the ceremony. The website also recently added photos of the lanterns and a video of the ceremony.

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