Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Merrie Monarch parade in Hilo, Hawaii.

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One of the largest and most colorful parades to attend in Hawaii is the annual Merrie Monarch Parade in Hilo, Hawaii. This beautiful parade caps a week-long celebration of hula events all around Hilo and celebrates hula as the basis of each participating entrant to the event. This year’s parade with over 170 participants was the largest number of groups active with the celebration.

Along with the usual bands, civic groups and clubs, the Merrie Monarch parade celebrates everything surrounding the week long hula fest.  There is usually a variety of pageant queens including our own Miss Aloha – hula contestant winner.


Then there is a contingent of this year’s Hawaiian royalty, kings, queens and other historical members of the Hawaiian royal family who are chosen to be this year’s royal court members.  The royal float contains live music performers serenading the court and is filled with fresh tropical flowers and exotic plants.

All the floats are lavishly decorated with colorful flowers like orchids, gingers and plumeria which are grown commercially for export and showcasing the abundance of plant and tropical flowers grown on the island.  Many of the floats feature live performers singing favorite Hawaiian tunes along with local dancing hula halaus (schools) dancing in perfect synch to the music.

A favorite of the audience are the local pa’u riders (parade horseback riders) with their extravagant outfits and vivid floral displays of leis and other adornments. Representing each island with their local official color and flower, each pa’u rider is an amazing sight to behold in the procession. Even the horse poop carriers and scoopers are creatively presented and fun to witness their vital task of pooper scooper tasks.


Even the paniolo men (cowboys) were handsomely presented with their horses in beautiful regalia to match the island colors and flowers.

At the tail end of each horse contingent are the pooper scoopers, this was actually one of the favorites at the parade, due to the unique and colorful presentations that were present at this parade. This one was my favorite with the pineapple princess representing Lanai.

Unique to the Hawaiian islands are contingents that celebrate local activities like the Red hat ladies, marching bands, the taiko drummers, the local ukulele marching band and various dignitaries. It all makes for a unique blend of participants that creates a fun parade experience.


The Merrie Monarch parade celebrates hula and the entire community at its best and most welcomed Aloha.  Its a beautiful event to witness and photograph with each new contingent approaching and exciting events unfolding spontaneously.

Thanks for visiting and experiencing this event online, hopefully next year you may come and visit Hilo to experience this exciting festival and parade in person.

To see more photographs on this event, please visit this flickr site for more images.
©Noel Morata, All rights reserved

Come and visit my photography website at http://noelmorata.photoshelter.com/

Friday, April 5, 2013

Merrie Monarch Festival's Ho'ike Night Highlights.

Another beautiful presentation of hula dancing at its finest was to be seen in Hilo, Hawaii with Ho'ike night (a show or exhibition). Normally this is a celebration of hula and Polynesian dances from around the Pacific islands, the variety of island dances performed are colorful and presents unique dances attributed to each island culture. This year's Ho'ike event was focused on celebrating Hula's golden anniversary of the Merrie Monarch Festival from its humble beginnings into being the pre-eminent hula event.

Prior to the start, the stage is empty except for all the elaborately carved pahu drums decorated in a variety of native ferns.


Symbolizing passing down the knowledge and dance of hula and mele (chanting) from older generations to the young, the event celebrates the nostalgic dances and evolution from kahiko hula (ancient) through the victorian era into the modern or Auana style. Some of the ladies over 80 were performing with some of the historic halau (hula school) along with younger hula students dancing under these halau. The performance with these grand dames totally commanded the show and showcased dancing at its finest by spreading their joy and aloha to the audience.


This beautiful hula dancer is so graceful and completely exudes with aloha to every movement and gesture. Her smile completely lights up the performance, and the audience shouts deliriously in support and excitement to these dancers.

There was so much love and aloha with these dancers on the stage, it was just amazing to see and experience this beautiful portion of the evening's performance.


The introduction of the kane (male) hula division was also represented with the Cazemero brother's halau dancing from their first kane division win in 1976. The inclusion of the kane hula division has brought new excitement in hula dancing, increase viewership and participation with a new set of young dancers to learn hula and all aspects of the hula.


One of the highlights of the evening was a segment introducing all of the Miss Aloha dancers from the early 1970's to the present day Miss Aloha - it was a visual delight seeing all the amazing costumes, gorgeous adornments and individual dancing styles.

Ornate head pieces and leis made with fresh flowers like orchids and plumeria create beautiful statements to each Miss Aloha's ensemble and is a visual delight to see.

There were so many beautiful presentations of different hula dances and dancers of every age and experience. The golden anniversary presentation showcased all the beautiful dances that marked highlights of dancing throughout the Merrie Monarch Festival's existence and was so elaborately presented.

Here's a look at some more images of the Ho'ike hula highlights.


This was a spectacular Merrie Monarch anniversary performance with an amazing array of solid performances from past shows and amazing collaborations.

A hui hou (until we meet again) - hopefully at another beautiful hula performance at the Merrie Monarch festival in Hilo.


©Noel Morata, All rights reserved

Come and visit my photography website at http://noelmorata.photoshelter.com/


Monday, April 1, 2013

Merrie Monarch Hula Ho'olaule'a 2013

The whole week right after Easter day celebrations in Hilo, Hawaii is marked with the Merrie Monarch festival which covers everything and anything focused on the beautiful hula dance, competitions and various events celebrating the hula.

Every day is set with amazing hula performances at many venues around Hilo town and many hula halau (hula schools) coming from all over the world converge to enjoy, compete and perform in the festivities. You will see some of the best hula performances in the world at this week long celebration of hula.

The first day of peformances starts on Easter Sunday and is a called the Ho'olaule'a (Hawaiian celebration or event). The event features well known local hula halau (hula schools) from Hawaii Island and is a favorite event with local audiences. Usually the auditorium is packed with audience members supporting their favorite hula halau with loud cheers and whistles. The energy level and spirit of Aloha is alive with the hula dancing along with audience participation.

Many hula halau include young keiki (children) dancing in their age groups and hula performances are encouraged at all ages from young to old. But the keiki hula performances are very popular and fun to watch at the Ho'olaule'a show.

Traditional hula dancing known as hula kahiko is a very popular dance to see and experience. Not only are the costumes handmade, but also their adornments, leis and musical instruments are hand done for each specific performance. Every part of a dance and costume is presented with authentic details with time consuming practise and performance. This is to present a hula dance to the audience so they can experience an authenthic and ancient hula performance.

The modern dance style called hula Auana is also popular with colorful outfits and a beautiful and expressive flowing style. Most hulas dances are typically done in this modern style of dance with popular Hawaiian music performed with an ukulele, guitar and base guitar combination and singers complementing the dance.

Here are a few more performance highlights of last night's event.

The Merrie Monarch Ho'olaulea hula performances in Hilo are just the start of a week long celebration of hula dancing at its finest. The rest of the week comprises of beautiful hula demonstrations, crafts fairs, singing competitions, various competitive dance performances and a colorful parade with the champions of the hula events.

To view more images of this event, please visit my flickr site below


A hui hou (until we meet again) - hopefully at another beautiful hula performance at the Merrie Monarch festival in Hilo.

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