Aloha Festivals 2013: Annual September events highlight Hawaiian culture
September 6, 2013
HONOLULU (Sept. 6, 2013) -- Created in 1946 as Aloha Week, what is known today as Aloha Festivals has historically been a celebration of Hawai'i's music, dance and history that is intended to display these uniquely Hawaiian art forms to visitors.
This year, the Aloha Festivals take place from Sept. 12-28.
Aloha Week became Aloha Festivals in 1991, and now hundreds of volunteers labor together each year to stage the events, which are attended statewide by nearly 100,000 people. The festivals are funded through the sale of Aloha Festivals ribbons and merchandise, as well as through corporate and private donations.
According to Manu Boyd, celebrated Hawaiian songwriter and singer, the Royal Court is one of the most important and celebrated parts of the festival.
"(The Royal Court) is assembled with great care order to honor the ali'i (chiefs) of Hawai'i through public appearances in full, traditional regalia," said Boyd. "Floral parades, ho'olaule'a (festival) block parties, keiki (children) events and protocol ceremonies are among activities.
"Overall, the festival celebrates aloha as a kama'äina (Native residents) way of life rather than a commodity," Boyd continued. "As an island community, we share all of this with malihini (visitors) who visit Hawai'i from throughout the world."
The first of this year's Aloha Festivals on Oʻahu begin Sept. 12 with the Royal Court Investiture on the Village Green of the Hilton Hawaiian Village, and end Sept. 28, with the Aloha Festivals Floral Parade, which moves from Ala Moana Park, along Kalākaua Avenue to Kapi'olani Park and features an equestrian procession of female and male pā'ū riders. All events are free and open to the public.
The theme of the 2013 Aloha Festivals is "Moana Nui Ākea: Celebrating Traditional Hawaiian Ocean Voyaging," in honor of the Polynesian Voyaging Society's 40th anniversary.
Founded in 1973 by artist-historian Herb Kawainui Kāne, waterman Tommy Holmes and anthropologist Ben Finney, the Polynesian Voyaging Society has fostered the revival of the wa'a kaulua (double-hulled sailing canoe) and traditional non-instrument celestial navigation as taught by Master Navigator Mau Piailug.
2013 Aloha Festivals Calendar
Thursday, Sept. 12
2013 Royal Court Investiture
3 p.m., Hilton Hawaiian Village, Village Green
Traditional chant and hula highlight this annual event as the 2013 Ali'i receive their royal symbols of reign during investiture ceremonies. Free admission.
Thursday, Sept. 12
2013 Opening Ceremony
5 p.m., Royal Hawaiian Center, Royal Grove
This ceremony marks the official beginning of the 2013 Aloha Festivals event on O'ahu. Traditional hula and chant introduce the Royal Court on the grounds of the Royal Hawaiian Center's Royal Grove. Free admission.
Saturday, Sept. 21
7 p.m, Waikīkī Ho'olaule'a
On Kalākaua Avenue between Lewers & Kapahulu avenues
Celebrating its 61st year, the largest block party will kick off with the arrival of the Royal Court. Multiple stages of entertainment, lots of food, lei vendors and Hawaiian crafters will be spread along the world famous Kalākaua Avenue. Free admission.
Saturday, Sept. 28
9 a.m, 2013 Aloha Festivals Floral Parade
From Ala Moana Park, along Kalākaua Avenue to Kapi'olani Park
A colorful equestrian procession of female and male pā'ū riders, extravagant floats with cascades of Hawaiian flowers. Hula Hālau and marching bands will brighten Kalākaua Avenue from Ala Moana Park to Kapi'iolani Park. This event is a "must see." Free admission.