Wednesday, December 21, 2011

CHRISTMAS IN HONOLULU, HAWAII

Shaka Santa and Mrs. Claus with poinsettias
in front of Honolulu Hale
MELE KALIKIMAKA is one of my favorite Christmas songs. Remember Bing Crosby's 1950 rendition, accompanied by the Andrew Sisters? "That's the island greeting that we send to you  . . ."

***This is a timely article that I wrote and posted on December 14, 2010. Upholding tradition, I attended "Nutcracker" at the Blaisdell again this year. Chi Cao, principal dancer of Birmingham Royal Ballet and star of Mao's Last Dancer joined the cast of more than 200 dancers for the production.*** The holiday season on the island of O'ahu opens with the Honolulu City Lights celebration. The Electric Light Parade travels through downtown to Honolulu Hale (City Hall) for the annual tree-lighting ceremony. This year's tree is a striking 55-foot Norfolk pine. Another tradition is "Nutcracker" performed on-stage at Blaisdell Concert Hall. 

At the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific at Punchbowl, rows of evergreen wreaths on grave sites honor fallen veterans this holiday season. The wreaths adorn 1,288 of the graves, part of the Wreaths Across America campaign.

Aunties like myself, keiki, and tutus all enjoy the entertainment of Hawaii's local groups this time of year - Na Leo Pilimehana, Makaha Sons, Kapena, and the Brothers Cazimero, to name a few; special hula dance groups (halaus) including Hoku Zuttermeister; and celebrities Amy Hanaiali'i Gilliom, Keali'i Reichel, and Willie K (the title of his Christmas song "Aloha Kalikimaka" reveals what the K stands for.) Music by the late Israel (Iz) Kamakawiwo'ole is always heard around the islands. 

Candy Cane Train
At Ala Moana Center, our open-air shopping mall, children ride the Candy Cane Train and watch musical productions on Center Stage, the illusion of snow delighting the young at heart. Hula performers draped in colorful regalia entertain with beautifully choreographed, swaying movements.


Santa gets lei-d for the holidays
But it isn't officially the "season to be jolly" until the Santa Claus statue is assembled up on the center's rootftop for all to see!
 
In Honolulu, jolly ol' St. Nicholas arrives in an outrigger canoe, landing on the shores of Waikiki!

And we do have real snow here. Recently, my cousin reminded me of the snow-covered mountain of Mauna Kea on the Big Island. Low temperatures on Maui's Haleakala also attract the white fluffy stuff that folks in the northern states take for granted this time of year.

Hawaiian Menehune
 
Kalikimaka is Hawaiian for Christmas.
Mele means song or chant; also, merry.
This is truly the locals' traditional way,
Of sending holiday greetings,
To say Merry Christmas. To you.


Aloha Nui Loa,
That's Hawaii's way to say
"a canoe-full of love."
Gail

6 comments:

  1. A canoe-full of love to you this yuletide.
    Have a very Happy Christmas.

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  2. Thank you, Anthony. Best wishes to you and your family this holiday season.

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  3. What a terrific Christmas! I would so love to spend the holiday in Hawaii one year.

    And I saw Mao's Last Dancer and just loved it. What an inspiring story and a great film.

    Hope you had a very Merry Christmas and that 2012 brings you huge successes. :)

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  4. I'm glad you mentioned the wreaths on the military graves. It's a nice way to see that veterans aren't forgotten.
    Hawaii sounds beautiful. The photo of all the poinsettias is lovely. Do the trees grow there?
    Happy New Year!

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  5. Happy New Year and best wishes for a happy and healthy 2012, Melissa and Ellis!

    Melissa, I didn't see Mao's Last Dancer in the theater so I hope it will come out in DVD.

    Ellis, you can see a pic of a lovely poinsettia shrub here: http://gardening.about.com/od/yourgardenphotos/ig/Perennial-Poinsettia-in-Hawaii/Poinsettia-Shrub-in-Hawaii.htm

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  6. I went to the link. The poinsettia's gorgeous. I guess the temp requirements explain why mine look like they do. :-) Thanks, Gail.

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Aloha and thank you for visiting today!