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Ask the Big Kahuna "Answering the most common visitor questions"
The state of Hawaii celebrates its cultural heritage with the Aloha Festivals. First organized in 1946 as “Aloha Week” by the Jaycees Oldtimers, the celebration was created to entice visitors to Hawaii after the busy summer season. The festivities were planned to honor the Makahiki — a time of sports competitions, music, and feasting in ancient Hawaii. The mission of Aloha Festivals is to foster the “Aloha Spirit” through the preservation of Hawaiian culture and the perpetuation of the diverse customs and traditions of Hawaii.
Hundreds of events take place every year on six islands over a two-month period (generally August and September). Featured events vary from island to island and include pageantry, parades, street parties, concerts luaus, mule races, royal balls, and family activities. Each island hosts a Royal Court that recalls the time when Hawaii was a native monarchy. The court consists of a king, queen, prince and princess, as well as an assemblage of chiefs and retainers—all of Hawaiian ancestry. The court members receive special cultural and protocol training and donate many hours to their “reign” throughout the year. In addition to presiding over festival events, the Royal Court visits schools and makes other appearances to help keep the respected tradition, history, and practices of the Hawaiian culture alive.
In 1991, Aloha Week was renamed Aloha Festivals to reflect the festival’s growth and popularity. Aloha Festivals is celebration of Pacific, Asian and Western cultural influences, from the Japanese Bon Dance to the traditional hula. Nearly 30,000 volunteers labor together to stage the events, which are attended by approximately one million people. The celebration itself has now become an island tradition.
You can get more information and a schedule of events by contacting Aloha Festivals directly:
P.O. Box 15945
Honolulu, Hawaii 96830-5945
Phone: (808) 589-1771
Fax: (808) 589-1770
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