The Super Bowl of hula

Our 2016 Merrie Monarch party
My husband hosts an annual super bowl party every year. We spend the day prepping the munchies and chilling the beers. The guys come over and all you can hear is the banter, the celebration and the commentary on the play.

This week my hula sisters and I will meet, cheer on our favourites, share some food and be amazed by the glory of the ‘olapa (hula dancer) until the wee hours of the morning (we are four hours ahead of Hawaii).

What will be different is that instead of pizza and greasy munchies it will be pineapple and mango, instead of beers it will be Mai Tais and Menehune mudslides. We won’t be cheering on a football team but rather our favourite hula halau (school). We will love some more than others but we will relish in the joy and aloha that is Hawaiian dance.

The Merrie Monarch Festival is a weeklong Hawaiian celebration of culture and dance. The festival was named after King David Kalakaua, who restored many of the Hawaiian cultural traditions the missionaries outlawed. It features the best of the best, the most skilled singers, chanters and dancers from across Hawaii and the mainland.

Merrie Monarch live!

Robin on her way to the Merrie Monarch festival!
This year, one of our very own haumana, Robin, was lucky enough to have won a pair of tickets through the lottery and will be sending us pictures and stories of her experience and we will be posting them on our blog. She will get to experience the smell of the freshly picked flowers and foliage that adorn the dancers, the sounds of the ti leaf swooshing as they walk by and feel the mana (energy) float through Edith Kanakaole Stadium as they take the stage.

But as hula dancers, whether we are watching online or lucky enough to be sitting in that stadium, we will be inspired – for our own journey, learning and connection. It is a time that we can come together and celebrate aloha over food and drink and marvel in the wonder of Hawaii.

Want a sneak peek to see what it’s all about? Check out this video!

Updates from Robin

Day 1

Spent the afternoon at one of the markets…shopping was a little overwhelming, but it’s only day 1. Finished the night attending the Ho’ike, there was a halau from Hawaii, a group from Mexico, a group from Philippines, and the last group was amazing from Kona. Click on the photos to enlarge.

Merrie Monarch Festival market shopping!
Merrie Monarch market has a stage with performers!
A beautiful pahu drum for sale!
Queen Liliuokalani
Some ONO food while we wait for Ho’ike to start!
Ho’ike begins with the Ali’i (Royal) Court entering
Halau from Kona, HI perform at the Ho’ike
Ho’ike performance!

Kahiko night in Edmonton 

We celebrated and cheered on from home. We streamed online until 4 a.m. 

2017 Merrie Monarch party! Celebrating with some ono food!

Day 2&3

Kahiko and auana nights! We aren’t allowed to take photos during the performances so here are some pics of intermission. Did some shopping and watching local hula before going to Merrie Monarch.

Robin with Hula Halau ʻO Kamuela
Maui and Moana with a pineapple plant!
Mmmmmmm chocolate covered Macadamia nuts
Local hula dancers
Judges table! Tough job to choose with such amazing dancers on the stage!

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