In Hawaii, the week after Easter Sunday is when hula halau from the islands of Hawaii and the mainland gather in Hilo on the Big Island of Hawaii for the Merrie Monarch Festival.
The Merrie Monarch Festival began in 1963 and has evolved into what is now universally considered to be the world's most prestigious hula competition.
Festival Honors King David Kalakaua
The festival is named in honor of King David Kalakaua, the last king of the Hawaiian islands, whose coronation in 1883 included public displays of hula, which had long been buried under rules imposed by Hawaiian missionaries.
Kalakaua ruled for seventeen years. His reign was marked by a resurgence in Hawaiian culture, music and included numerous public performances of hula. Because of his love of dance and music, Kalakaua was nicknamed, "the Merrie Monarch." In his memory and in celebration of Hawaiian culture, dance and music, the Merrie Monarch Festival is held each year.
The annual competition extends over three nights. On Thursday evening, the Miss Aloha Hula competition is held. This is a solo competition for females where each dancer performs both hula kahiko (ancient hula) and hula 'auana (modern hula).
The Friday and Saturday competitions are for the hula halau (hula schools). Friday evening marks the hula kahiko competition. Saturday features the hula 'auana as well as the awards ceremony.
In Hawaii, KFVE, K5 The Home Team will broadcast the 50th Annual Merrie Monarch festival live on April 4-6, 2013. The broadcast is as follows:
- Miss Aloha Hula: Thursday, April 4, 2013 from 6:00 p.m. - 12:00 midnight Hawaii time
- Hula Kahiko (ancient): Friday, April 5, 2013 from 6:00 p.m. - 12:30 a.m. Hawaii time
- Hula Auana (modern) and Awards: Saturday, April 6, 2013 from 6:00 p.m. -1:00 a.m. Hawaii time
Saturday night kane and wahine halau performi their 'auana. The winning halau are announced after the final performance.
The competition can also be viewed live over the Internet through streaming video on the station's website - K5 The Home Team.
Video clips of all performances will be available the day after the performance.
For More Information
For additional information on the Merrie Monarch Festival visit the Festival's website at www.merriemonarch.com.