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Merrie Monarch Festival
From: 2016.04.24 To: 2016.04.30
“Hula is the language of the heart, therefore the heartbeat of the Hawaiian people”, declared King David Kalākaua, the last monarch of the Hawaiian Kingdom. He’s the chap to be thanked for the revival of the highly expressive, story-in-motion dance form, which is probably the No. 1 thing associated with Hawaiian culture today but had been formerly branded and even banned as a pagan and sinful tradition. The annual Merrie Monarch Festival pays tribute to the 19th-century king with a week packed with exhibitions, crafts fairs, workshops, performances and a colorful parade winding through the streets of Hilo. The festivities climax in a three-day competition, often dubbed “the Olympics of hula”, bringing together scores of hula halau (dance groups) from all over the world, anxious to show off their skills. Tickets are required and normally fly out for the contest, so plan ahead to avoid tears.