|1040 Hula dancers at Merrie Monarch Festival|
Posted on 30.03.2014, 17.01.2016
The early settlement history of Hawaii isn't completely resolved. One hypothesis is that the first Polynesians arrived in Hawaiʻi in the 3rd century from the Marquesas and were followed by Tahitians in 1300, who conquered the original inhabitants. Another is that a single, extended period of settlement populated the islands. Whatever the truth, the fact is that the Native Hawaiians (kānaka maoli) are Polynesian as origin, and their culture is a clear evidence in this regard, even if the different ethnic groups who established on the islands during the past 200 years added elements of its own culture.
|2226 Let's hula!|
The Merrie Monarch Festival is a week-long (from Easter Sunday morning to Saturday evening) cultural festival that takes place annually since 1963 in Hilo, in honor of the last reigning king of the Kingdom of Hawaiʻi, David Kalākaua, called the "Merrie Monarch" for his patronage of the arts and credited with restoring many Hawaiian cultural traditions during his reign, including the hula, a uniquely Hawaiian dance accompanied by chant or song that preserves and perpetuates the traditions and culture of Hawaii. The festival is the most prestigious of all hula contests, and many hālau hula (schools) attend it each year.
The first four days consist of free, non-competition events, which include performances by hālau, as well as an arts and crafts fair. The Wednesday Ho'ike Night Free is exhibition very popular, as also the parade, which takes place on Saturday morning. The festivities culminate in the annual competitions held at the Edith Kanakaʻole Multipurpose Stadium in Hoʻolulu Park. Dancers perform individually and in groups, with seven minutes allowed for each performance. Thursday night is the first competition event. Individual female dancers compete for the title of Miss Aloha Hula. Dancers perform in both modern (hula ʻauana) and traditional (hula kahiko) forms of hula, as well as chant (oli). There are two divisions of group competition, the male (kāne) division and the female (wahine) division. Friday night features hālau performing ancient style, and Saturday night modern style.
Traditional female dancers wore the everyday pāʻū, a grass skirt that hangs from the waist and covers all or part of the legs, but were topless. Today this form of dress has been altered. As a sign of lavish display, the pāʻū might be much longer than the usual length of tapa, or barkcloth, which was just long enough to go around the waist. Dancers might also wear decorations such as necklaces, bracelets, and anklets, as well as many lei (in the form of headpieces - leipo'o, necklaces, bracelets, and anklets - kupe'e), and other accessories. The lei and tapa worn for sacred hula were considered imbued with the sacredness of the dance, and weren't to be worn after the performance, so they were typically left on the small altar to Laka found in every hālau, as offerings. The hula kahiko is always performed with bare feet. Among the musical instruments used are ' Uli'uli (also ʻulili), the feathered gourd rattles, a kind of maracas.
About the stamps
On the postcard 1040-1
The first stamp, depicting Spicebush Swallowtail, is part of a definitive series with butterflies, about which I wrote here. The second stamp, depicting a coal miner, is part of a series which honors America’s industrial workers, Building a Nation, about which I wrote here.
On the postcard 1040-2
About the first stamp, depicting the president Abraham Lincoln, I wrote here. The second stamp, depicting a laborer on a hoisting ball at the Empire State Building and a textile worker, are part of the series Building a Nation, about which I wrote here. The last stamp, Neon Celebrate!, was issued on March 6, 2011.
On the postcard 2226
About the first stamp, featuring a portrait of George Washington, I wrote here. The following two stamps are part of the series Harry Potter, about which I wrote here.
Merrie Monarch Festival - Wikipedia
Native Hawaiians - Wikipedia
Sender 1040-1, 1040-2, 2226: Denise
1040-1: Sent from Greenvale (New York / United States), on 04.02.2014
1040-2: Sent from Greenvale (New York / United States), on 26.03.2014
photo: IHP Archive
2226: Sent from Greenvale (New York / United States), on 27.03.2014