Merrie Monarch Festival, Hilo, Hawai’i

The Merrie Monarch Festival is a week-long cultural festival that takes place annually in Hilo, Hawai’i beginning on Easter Sunday. It honors King David Kalākaua, who was called the “Merrie Monarch” for his patronage of the arts and is credited with restoring many Hawaiian cultural traditions during his reign, including the hula.

Much of the festival consist of free, non–competition events at several venues around Hilo town. These include dance performances by local and international halau, as well several different arts and craft fairs.

Wednesday Ho’ike Night free exhibition is very popular, as well as the Merrie Monarch Parade that takes place on Saturday morning, the festivals last day.

Without question, the hula competition portion of the festival is most exciting. Thursday individual competition winner is awarded the title of Miss Aloha Hula. Both kāne & wāhine (male & female) from halau worldwide compete in two categories. Friday, hula Kahiko (ancient) and Saturday, hula ʻauana (modern).