Ahead of Us


Photo: Brendon Kalei'aina Lee

With the holidays behind us, the times we are used to enjoying together continue to pass us by.

Those of us born and raised here in Hawaiʻi miss the traditions that we would never have imagined would not be there. For those of us on Oʻahu, the Punahou carnival turned virtual; in Waimea on Hawaiʻi Island the time for the cherry blossom festival came and went, postponed until 2022.

Photo: Merrie Monarch Festival
Dancers receive a standing ovation at the Merrie Monarch Festival in Hilo. – Photos: Courtesy

One of three events held each year for many Kānaka family and friends to gather, Kamehemeha School’s song contest, will not be held live. And next month, the event where the hula world comes together, the Merrie Monarch Festival, will not have a live audience, if it is held at all.

As Kānaka, our ability to gather, connect, and bond is part of our DNA. These times when we gather in celebration there is so much aloha all around. All these different events have this aloha in common. The magic in the air is undeniable, and is just one of the many reasons we all look forward to them every year.

Photo: Kamehameha Schools' Annual Song Contest
Kamehameha Schools’ Annual Song Contest has been an important community event for 100 years.

We now have a light at the end of the tunnel that has clouded the last year. With vaccines well underway, we have hope that by this time next year I will be writing about how great it was to share meaʻai with our kūpuna at the Lunalilo Home’s annual lāʻau. We all will be looking forward to gathering in Hilo for shopping and hula, and we will be looking forward to seeing one another at the Neil Blaisdell center for Song Contest.

Every day we get word about new sites opening up for vaccines and soon vaccines will be available to the next tier.

With all that we have to look forward to, let us all please continue to do our part to makaʻala as we work to get to that light at the end of that tunnel. Let us all continue to wear our masks, continue to keep our distance, no honi or hugs, and when it is our turn, get the vaccination so we can all return the Hawaiʻi that we know and love. Continue to stay safe and stay healthy so we can all come out together more resilient than before and once again do what is in our DNA: gather.