Hauoli Makahiki Hou!
Hauoli Makahiki Hou! Happy New Year!
Welcome to 2016, a year of discoveries and delights. if you’re here right now, don’t waste a precious minute. Swim, sail, surf, snorkel … and shop! Savor our precious Hawaiian culture and get to know us a little better. Eat poi and kalua pig at a luau. Have a shave ice or two. Seek out keiki (children’s) hula and slack key guitar and the best place to witness the green flash. Get up early and drive to Kailua for a walk on the beach at sunrise. Hike Diamond Head to say you’ve done it or Koko Crater to see as far as you can see.
There’s no end to roadside attractions and surprises around the bend on our island. Nor is there anything but aloha in our hearts as we remain grateful for every single day.
Mahalo for visiting. We’re glad you’re here!
Hawaiian Christmas, Then and Now
The Hawaiian version of The Twelve Days of Christmas was penned in 1959 by three young guys eating Chinese food near Diamond Head. There is some chance that alcohol was served. Much has changed since that year, when Hawaii became the 50th state. But much has remained the same.
Mynah birds continue to perch in papaya trees. Coconuts abound. We still eat dried squid, kalua pig and local shrimp, and we drink beer. Lei stands in Chinatown remain vibrant. We have an ukulele or two or three at home, and if you substitute “iPhones” for “televisions,” the final day’s enthusiasm is as valid as ever. The only thing out of favor, in fact, are the eleven missionaries, whose imposition of Western values is no longer cause for celebration in many circles.
Then and now, what rings truest in this and every season are the six hula lessons.
The single best way to know who we are is to witness the pageantry and pride of a keiki (children’s) hula performance. There’s nothing cuter, and there’s no purer link to Hawaiian culture, without which we would be just another warm place awash with iPhones.
Hula is serious business. It is as much fun as it looks, but learning is not easy for the mind or body. With guidance provided by accomplished kumu hula, local children as young as three take their first steps into this magical storytelling tradition, which is how Hawaiian history was passed down through the ages prior to the arrival of disapproving missionaries.
Especially at Christmastime, you’re likely to see kids doing auana (modern) hula, rather than kahiko (ancient). Regardless, these tiny dancers are our past, present and future, and if you have a chance to see some keiki hula this year, see it you must.
Twelve Days of Christmas, Hawaiian-Style
For 40 years I’ve been trying to properly recite the Hawaiian Twelve Days of Christmas. If I had memorized just one day every three years, I’d have spent the last four holiday seasons thrilling myself. But no, I still can’t do it.
No. 1 is easy, of course — one mynah bird in one papaya tree. Then there are two coconuts, three dried squid, four flower lei and five big, fat pigs. After that, who knows?
This year I’ve decided to share them with you, which will inspire me to learn them once and for all. We are doing them one day at a time with a Santa-at-Honolulu-Hale introduction. It’s supposed to be fun and easy, but it’s not. Try to find a pleasant picture of three dried squid and you’ll see what I mean.
When we’re pau, we’ll leave them up till New Year’s Day, when we’ll start playing a whole new ballgame. Follow along with us if you will — and Mele Kalikimaka to you and yours!
‘Tis the Season
I remember my first Christmas in Hawaii. From my hotel-room lanai, I gazed across Kalakaua Avenue at palm trees, the Royal Hawaiian, the blue sky and bluer ocean, and thought, “Where’s the snow?” I can’t remember if I went surfing, but I should have.
What you should do during this beautiful season is twofold: what we do, and what you can’t do at home. Two top stops for us are the Honolulu City Lights extravaganza at our city hall, Honolulu Hale, and performances around town of keiki (children’s) hula. On Saturday, December 12, our four-year-old daughter will have her first hula performance. It will be at around 10 o’clock at Windward Mall, and you’ll never see anything cuter.
Go down to Honolulu Hale some evening after dark. (The Waikiki Trolley has a great tour.) There you will see Santa and Mrs. Claus, our official city Christmas tree, a bounty of decorated trees inside the building itself, a bunch of displays and lights outside, and many, many local families. It’s fun!
As for what you can’t do at home: If you can’t dive into the Pacific Ocean and pop up to see Diamond Head and rainbows where you live, you should do that … today!