A ke kuahiwi, i ke kualono
Ku ana o Laka i ka mauna
Noho ana o Laka i ke po‘o o ka ohu
O Laka kumu hula…
In the forest, along the ridges
Laka rising in the mountain
Dwelling in the source of the mist
Laka is the source of hula…
This is the beginning of the mele “He Kānaenae no Laka”, a chant of praise for Laka. Laka is widely known as the god of hula, the deity responsible for inspiring the hula practitioner. When I began to learn the chants for the kuahu hula, the hula altar, I began to see a pattern of information that had to do with a healthy forest and water cycle. I was further trained to understand what the kuahu hula is. The first kuahu is the forest itself. The second kuahu is the one that we build and adorn with the forest plants in our hālau hula. The third kuahu is the body of the ‘ōlapa which is adorned with the kuahu plants also known as the kinolau of Laka.
Let’s step back for just one moment and look to the mele again. “Noho ana ‘o Laka i ke po‘o o ka ohu, o Laka kumu hula.” An epiphany! Laka is the process of creating that mist in the forest. Laka is the critical element in the water cycle in our forest called transpiration. It is this process that is significant for hula people to ho‘omana in our pule.
Hula, therefore, in its most primal function, is the continual observance of and protection of the water cycle. Hula practitioners could be considered our traditional hydrologists. – Mehanaokalā Hind
Merrie Monarch Festival Events
April 21-27, 2019
Free Mid-day Entertainment
Daily (Monday through Friday)
Enjoy entertainment at the Grand Naniloa Hotel (12 p.m.) and the Hilo Hawaiian Hotel (1 p.m.)
Apr. 21, 9 a.m.
Watch performances by local hālau. Free
Experience an exhibition of hula and folk dance from around the Pacific. Free. No tickets required.
Merrie Monarch Invitational Hawaiian Arts Fair
Apr. 24 – 26, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Apr. 27, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
This art fair is an absolute annual favorite full of local artisans, crafters and live entertainment. Free. Afook-Chinen Civic Auditorium.
Miss Aloha Hula
Apr. 25, 6 p.m.
Watch individuals compete for the title of Miss Aloha Hula with contestants performing hula kahiko, hula ‘auana and oli.
Group Hula Kahiko
Apr. 26, 6 p.m.
Marvel as the Hālau hula perform anciet styled dances that tells tories of our kupuna and more.
Group Hula ‘Auana & Awards
Apr. 27, 6 p.m.
Hālau hula will preform modern styled dances, followed by an awards presentation for all group winners.
Merrie Monarch Royal Parade
Apr. 27, 10:30 a.m.
Explore one of the festival‘s most entertaining and fun events. For all ages! The parade will begin and end at Pauahi St. (Kilauea Ave. – Keawe St. – Waiānuenue Ave. – Kamehameha Ave.).