Iʻm so sorry! Here I am, once again, two weeks late. Thank you to those who have subscribed to my blog (I see you, you have not gone unnoticed!).
This past week was Merrie Monarch Festival; a huge week-long celebration in my hometown of Hilo, to honor hula and the Mōʻī King David Kalākaua who helped perpetuate our language, culture, and arts. Our small city becomes bustling with tourists from the continental U.S., other countries, and family and friends from our neighboring islands. If you wanna learn more about it, or perhaps even attend the festival week, check out this website: http://www.merriemonarch.com. This week always makes me emotional, because we, as Hawaiians, are able to share our culture. Oh, and I feel extra proud to be Hawaiian.
The inspiration of last weekʻs festivities has led me to share some information about the beautiful lei of islands strung in the Pacific Ocean.
- Hawaiian is most definitely not just a nationality. It is an ethnicity. A lot of people do not realize that just living here and being loyal to the place and land does not make you Hawaiian through ethnicity. We have bloodlines tracing back very far.
- There are eight main islands. All are a part of the State of Hawaiʻi. However, two of the islands, Niʻihau and Kahoʻolawe are special cases.
Niʻihau is owned by the Robinson family and is constantly perpetuating both traditions and advancements. Because it is private land, you must be invited to come to the island, through a ferry from Kauaʻi. Niʻihau is the only island that communicates primarily through ʻŌlelo Hawaiʻi (Hawaiian Language), an older dialect than what is spoken today on the other islands.
Kahoʻolawe is the smallest of the main islands. No one lives on this island, because of its small size and lack of water. The U.S. military used it as an active training ground and for bombing exercises after World War II. After many decades of protest, it was given back to Hawaiʻi in 1996. It is now against the law to go to Kahoʻolawe, unless you sign up to volunteer for restorations on the island.
3. Hawaiʻi once had an Independence Day. November 28, 1843, was the day that France and Great Britain recognized the Republic of Hawaiʻi as sovereign. This day was called Lā Kūʻokoʻa. Many of our Mōʻī travelled and were educated abroad. Hawaiʻi was respected by many large nations.
4. Hawaiʻi was illegally overthrown by American businessmen and the U.S. military. On January 17, 1893, Queen Liliʻuokalani was overthrown by force, in which she conceded to avoid loss of life and in hope that what happened would be amended. After the overthrow of the Republic of Hawaiʻi, the islands were annexed to the United States (1898). In 1959, Hawaiʻi became the 50th state of the United States of America.
5. We have many different types of climates. Depending on the way you classify climates, you would get a different number every time. To keep it simple, I say, we have many! Hawaiʻi Island has 10 of the 14 climate zones in Koppen Climate Classification System. We get snow on Mauna Kea (which is the tallest mountain in the world measured from the ocean floor) in the winters and sometimes in the spring. Hilo is one of the wettest places in the world. Kawaihae is a very dry area. Puna holds our active flowing volcano, Kīlauea.
6. We are one of the most diverse places in the world. Our sugarcane plantation days brought many immigrants and indentured laborers. The main workers were Chinese, Japanese, Puerto Rican, Portuguese, and Filipino. Today, our population is very mixed, but we love it! All of our food and Hawaiian Creole English, or Pidgin, all come from the plantation days.
7. Most importantly, if you are visiting, please be respectful. Hawaiian culture, like many other eastern ones have a connection with spaces and all that encompass it (even rocks). If you are respectful, we see it. We appreciate those who visit and want to learn the actual culture. Whenever I travel anywhere, I make sure I also respect the area and the people as well.
I really want to write more, but the lack of sleep from this past week and weekend has made me sick! I get sick only once or twice a year… so Iʻll just take it and move on. Sorry for my word vomit. I just started blurbing whatever came to my head. Next time I want to start a new series! Iʻm still trying to pick a name… but stay tuned! Have a fabulous rest of the week.
Happy Curl, Happy Girl
Curly Island Girl