Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Day 1 of Our Tour of Maui Hawaii - Authentic Ho'olaule'a

Ho'olaulea celebrations are held all over the islands to signal the end of the school year.  They are Polynesian Pageants where the students gather with their parents and teachers to celebrate the success of the school year with music and dancing.  Students present their dancing skills and essays about their knowledge of Hawaiian culture weeks before the pageant, so that a royal court may be selected from among the top students in the graduating class.  This year, my second son completed his last year of elementary education and was selected to be in the royal court as a conch shell blower.  So we'll start our Summer Tour out here, at our school's Ho'olaulea.

By the time the pageant starts, the heat has started to rise and the kids are getting sweaty and uncomfortable, but they line up like troupers.  They are arranged by grade in rows around the pageant field and their parents are assembled behind them.  The Royal Court lines up on the grass to be presented to the audiance.

Each island is represented by their own prince and princess, dressed in the colors of their selected island.  They are presented in order of their place in the island chain.

Red represents the Big Island of Hawaii.  It is the color of the beautiful Lehua Blossoms that grow on the sides of Mauna Kea and Mauna Loa.

Pink represents Maui, for the Maui Rose.

Gray represents the barren landscape of the island of Kaho'olawe.  Kaho'olawe has suffered a severe fate since World War II.  It was used by the military as a training facility for many years.  A massive cleanup effort was launched several years ago, in an attempt to return the island to the Hawaiian people.

Orange represents the island of Lanai.

 Purple represents the island of Kauai.

White represents Ni'ihau at the top end of the island chain.

The conch shell blowers line up at the front of the pageant field to announce the arrival of the king and queen.  They run from the top of the field to the courtyard area to announce to the crowd that their king and queen have arrived and that proper respect should be shown.

The queen and her court dance the first dance for the crowd.  Then her court of ladies in waiting and the island princesses will return to their seating area and let her dance for the crowd alone. 

The king dances next.

After the King and Queen have danced, the students entertain their court with a pageant that represents their cultures and the current events of their world.  This year Japan was on everyone's mind.  There were dances to honor the disaster victims, dances that showcased the music the kids love today and dances that reflected back on Ho'olaulei'as of the past as students danced around a traditional May Pole.

And the seniors are graduated and ready to move on.