This year, we continue to explore our relationship to the land with the theme, Piliʻāina – to have kinship with the land. Pili means to have a personal connection to or close relationship with someone or something. Hoapili means close or dear friend. All relationships need nurturing and attention. So how are you nurturing your pilina (connection) to the land? When was the last time you went hiking on a trail or walked and witnessed the wonder of our living reefs? It’s inspired by cliché, but when’s the last time you stopped to smell the flowers? Have you made a lei recently after picking the blossoms yourself? To be piliʻāina, you have to be in the land. You have to huli ka lima i lalo – your hands must be physically connecting with the flora and with the earth. Now that the world has reopened, it’s time for us to reconnect in old and new ways with the land. Instead of you leaving your mark, get out, explore, and appreciate the beauty of our world and let it leave its mark on you. Let’s pledge this year to rediscover and use traditional place names. Names like Lēʻahi, the traditional name for Diamond Head. Lēʻahi is a contraction of Laeʻahi (brow of the tuna). If you look at the profile of Lēʻahi, you can see how it got its name. Let’s also revisit the stories connected to these places, celebrating the associated wind names, rain names, mele (songs/poetry), and hula (dances). The lyrics of the mele, Lēʻahi, by Mary Pulaʻa Robins & John Noble tell a lovely story: “… Hōkū kau ʻale kai aʻo Māmala…,” “…Rising star of Māmala…” Māmala is the traditional name of Honolulu Habor, named in honor of a shark woman who dwelled in those waters. Knowing and using these traditional place names and their mele help us to deepen our pilina to the land. Do you know the traditional name of the land where you live? Do you know a mele and hula associated with this place? 2023 is our year to know, to sing, and to dance about the land.
Saturday. Sept. 9, 2023 | 4 – 6 p.m.
Location: Coconut Grove at The Royal Hawaiian, A Luxury Collection Resort | The Royal Grove at Royal Hawaiian Center
Accompanied by hula, chant and pageantry, the Royal Court is introduced to kick off Aloha Festivals.
Saturday, Sept. 23, 2023 | 6 – 9:30 p.m.
Location: Kalākaua Avenue
The Waikīkī Ho‘olaule‘a is Hawai‘i’s largest annual block party featuring local food, music and entertainment.
Saturday, Sept. 30, 2023 | 9 a.m. – 12 p.m.
Location: from Ala Moana Park through Kalākaua Avenue to Kapi‘olani Park
Witness a colorful procession of horseback riders, performances and floats covered with Hawaiian flowers.