The Kingdom of Hawaii had many notable leaders, one of them being Queen Liliʻuokalani. She was the last monarch of the Hawaiian kingdom, and was ruler during the overthrow of the Hawaiian government in 1893. Using American troops, a group of businessmen conspired with the United States to try to annex Hawaii to make it a military base. A failed attempt to restore Liliʻuokalani to power resulted in her imprisonment inside of Iolani Palace for 8 months. Also an extremely accomplished musician, she composed over 165 different songs and chants, the most famous of which is Aloha ʻOe.
- Jarin Simon '23
King Kamehameha was one of the most striking figures in Hawaiian history, a leader who united and ruled the islands during a time of great cultural change. He was born sometime between 1753 and 1761 on the island Hawai’i (Big Island) and rose to ali’i-‘ai-moku (a district chief) on the Big Island. After rising to district chief he rose to higher positions of power and eventually was able to unite all the islands of Hawaii with the help of European allies. Kamehameha died in May of 1819. He had accomplished what no man in the history of the Hawaiian people had ever done. By uniting the Hawaiian Islands into a viable and recognized political entity, Kamehameha secured his people from a quickly changing world. For more detailed information on this important Hawaiian figure and how he united the Hawaiian islands please look at this link.
- Bryant Hoke '23
May Day Culture
Lei Giving Etiquette
It is a May Day tradition to give and receive beautiful leis because after all, May Day is Lei Day In Hawaii! However, you don’t want to expose yourself at a celebration by improperly handling your leis - what an embarrassment!! To help you out, here are a few tips on lei-giving etiquette:
- Jenna Maruyama '22
May Day in Schools
In Hawaii, May Day calls for celebration! In schools across the island, the iconic day is celebrated with festivities involving the entire student body. The event is not complete without the royal court and May Day king and queen! The royal court is composed of eight princesses and their male counterparts; each couple represents a Hawaiian island. The court watches over the events of the day and partakes in a group hula dance!
Each couple wears their island’s official color and lei representing a flower or foliage endemic to that island or once thrived there.
May Day is a time of celebration through dance and song. However, not everyone is a dancer, but everyone can sing. Even if you are in the audience at a May Day performance, be prepared to sing. There are many beloved Hawaiian songs and chants that are commonly performed in May Day programs, but I think no May Day program is complete without singing Hawai`i Aloha. Hawai`i Aloha, written by Rev. Lorenzo Lyons, is Hawai`i’s unofficial second anthem. It is usually the last song of every May Day performance (also the last song at many concerts and events). Everyone in attendance will stand and sing the song and in the last chorus, everyone joins hands and raises them above their heads. If you are going to a May Day performance, make sure to know the lyrics of the song and to not give dirty looks to the person next to you if they try to hold your hand (maybe you can now because of Covid).
- Travis Lee '23