Celebrate Hawaii’s Cultural Festivals

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While you might not need more reasons to visit Hawaii beyond its natural beauty and pristine beaches, the islands also celebrate unique cultural events to make your vacation truly memorable. Aloha State’s melting pot of cultures makes Hawaii a place unlike any other place on earth. Planning your visit around one of these festivals from March to July will make your trip even more memorable.

Honolulu Festival, March 8-10: Free and open to the public, this festival celebrates mutual understanding, economic cooperation and ethnic harmony between the Hawaiian people and the Pacific. Enjoy dance performances and traditional art demonstrations from Japan, Australia, Tahiti, Philippines, Taiwan, South Korea, and Hawaii. The festival finale is a spectacular parade. For your visit, stay at the Sheraton Waikiki; The Royal Hawaiian; Surfrider Westin Moana; Sheraton Princess Kaiulani; Waikiki Beach Marriott Resort & Spa; The Laylow, Autograph Collection; or Ritz-Carlton Residences, Waikiki Beach.

Merrie Monarch Festival, April 25-27: The world’s first hula festival, the Merrie Monarch is dedicated to the memory of the patron of the arts, King David Kalakaua (1836-1891), who said: “The hula is the language of the heart, therefore the heartbeat of the Hawaiian people. . “In addition to the Hawaiian Arts Fair, music, craft demonstrations, hula performances and the grand parade, the festival ends with an incredible hula competition. Where to stay: Mauna Kea Beach Hotel, Westin Hapuna Beach Resort or Waikoloa Beach Marriott Resort & Spa.

Maui East Taro Festival, April 13: Named after the most revered plant in Hawaiian culture (known in Hawaiian as Kalo), this festival celebrates taro, believed to possess the greatest life force of all foods, and which represents the origin of Hawaiian people. The festival includes a farmers market, hula dances, arts and crafts, as well as an array of traditional cultural demonstrations such as poi pounding and lauhala weaving. Stay at: Wailea Beach Resort – Marriott, Maui; Residence Inn – Maui Wailea; or Courtyard Maui Kahului Airport.

May 1: May 1 The popular phrase “May 1 is Lei Day in Hawaii” celebrates the most colorful time of year on the islands. While the special day is enjoyed statewide, the biggest festivities take place in Oahu. The celebrations include the making and giving of necklaces, as well as the hula dance. Schools, from kindergarten to high school, have special programs featuring “May Day Courts,” with their own princesses and princes representing each island. To experience Oahu’s biggest celebrations, stay at: Sheraton Waikiki; The Royal Hawaiian; Surfrider Westin Moana; Sheraton Princess Kaiulani; Waikiki Beach Marriott Resort & Spa; The Laylow, Autograph Collection; or Ritz-Carlton Residences, Waikiki Beach.

Koloa Plantation Days Festival, July: Held in Kauai in July, the Koloa Plantation Days festival celebrates the ethnic groups who came to Hawaii to work on the sugar cane plantations (and the Hawaiians who welcomed them) with a parade, craft and food stalls, a rodeo, ukulele competition and family entertainment run during this 10 day festival. Where to stay: Sheraton Kauai Resort; Koloa Landing Resort in Poipu, autograph collection; or Kauai Marriott Resort.

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