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May Day in Hawaii

May Day and soo much more!
They say, “May Day is Lei Day” in Hawaii, but that doesn’t begin to say it all. Here in Hawaii, May Day is a celebration of both Hawaii’s roots, its past monarchy, and its present assimilation of numerous cultures and customs into a unique heritage of traditions. One of these traditions is the May Day performance at local schools.
Watching a recent May Day program at one of the grade schools was a pleasant reminder of our rich diversity, demonstrated through song and dance. It began with the pageantry of the May Day court of queen and king, along with a prince and princess to represent each of the major islands. The pomp and ceremony in the presentation of the court demonstrated the respect still shown for the former monarchy. They performed a variety of hula, some filled with grace and beauty, and others with the masculine machismo and verve of ancient chants. Then there were dances and music representative of other cultures which have become a part of Hawaii, such as Tahiti, Samoa, Brazil, Japan, the Philippines, and more. All the dances were performed by the grade-schoolers, with exuberant enthusiasm, to the applause of proud parents, family, and friends.
The faces of the appreciative audience reflected the numerous backgrounds also shown in the music being presented, yet, with all their diverse features, each face wore one major similarity; a smile. You leave a May Day performance feeling a true sense of Aloha, and, if you are blessed enough to call Hawaii home, a renewed appreciation for where you live. Whether you are a visitor, a malahini, a kama’aina, or a local with ties going way back in Hawaii’s history, a May Day performance is a fun way to celebrate the uniqueness of Hawaii. May Day may be Lei Day, but it is also so much more!

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