Christmas in Hawaii

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Hawaiian Christmas tree postcard Mele Kalikimaka Lahaina.jpg
Hawaiian Christmas tree postcard

Christmas in Hawaii is a major annual celebration, as in most of the Western world.

Christmas holiday originating in Christianity, usually celebrated on December 25 (in the Gregorian or Julian calendars)

Christmas is an annual festival commemorating the birth of Jesus Christ, observed primarily on December 25 as a religious and cultural celebration among billions of people around the world. A feast central to the Christian liturgical year, it is preceded by the season of Advent or the Nativity Fast and initiates the season of Christmastide, which historically in the West lasts twelve days and culminates on Twelfth Night; in some traditions, Christmastide includes an octave. Christmas Day is a public holiday in many of the world's nations, is celebrated religiously by a majority of Christians, as well as culturally by many non-Christians, and forms an integral part of the holiday season centered around it.

Hawaii U.S. state in the United States

Hawaii is a state in the Pacific United States. It is the most recent state to join the United States, on August 21, 1959. Hawaii is the only U.S. state geographically located in Oceania, although it is governed as a part of North America, and the only one composed entirely of islands. It is the northernmost island group in Polynesia, occupying most of an archipelago in the central Pacific Ocean.



This festival was introduced to Hawaii with the arrival of Protestant missionaries, and is believed to have started after 1820. [1] [2] Most of the traditions they currently celebrate come from the missionaries. [3] [4] Before the Hawaiians celebrated the Christmas people know today, they had a festival named Makahiki which lasted around four months and in which all wars were forbidden. The season still had the essence of "peace and goodwill to all men", which is another thing people tend to associate with Christmas. [1]

Makahiki Ancient Hawaiian season of New Year festival

The Makahiki season is the ancient Hawaiian New Year festival, in honor of the god Lono of the Hawaiian religion.

The first recorded Christmas in Hawaii was in 1786, when the captain of merchant ship the Queen Charlotte , George Dixon, was docked on the Hawaiian island of Kauai. Dixon and his crew celebrated a large Christmas dinner that included a whole roast pig. [1]

Captain (Royal Navy) senior officer rank of the Royal Navy

Captain (Capt) is a senior officer rank of the Royal Navy. It ranks above commander and below commodore and has a NATO ranking code of OF-5. The rank is equivalent to a colonel in the British Army and Royal Marines, and to a group captain in the Royal Air Force. There are similarly named equivalent ranks in the navies of many other countries.

<i>Queen Charlotte</i> (1785 ship)

Queen Charlotte was a British merchant ship launched in 1785 at Stockton for Etches & Co. Between September 1785 and 1788 she made a circumnavigation of the world in company with another ship that the company owned, the King George. The two vessels were engaged in the Maritime Fur Trade in the Pacific northwest. They sold their furs in China and returned to England with cargoes that they were carrying back for the British East India Company (EIC). The EIC then employed her for voyage as a packet, sailing to Madras and Bengal, and return.

George Dixon (Royal Navy officer) English explorer

George Dixon was an English sea captain, explorer, and maritime fur trader. George Dixon was "born in Leath Ward, a native of Kirkoswald". The son of Thomas Dixon, he was baptised in Kirkoswald on 8 July 1748.

King Kamehameha IV and Queen Emma of Hawaii officially celebrated Christmas in 1856 as a day of Thanksgiving. On Christmas Eve of 1858 Mary Dominis threw a party at Washington Place featuring the first instance of a Christmas tree and Santa Claus in Hawaii. King Kamehameha IV declared it an official holiday in 1862. [5] [6]

Kamehameha IV Monarch of the Hawaiian Islands

Kamehameha IV, born Alexander ʻIolani Liholiho reigned as the fourth monarch of Hawaii under the title: Ke Aliʻi o ko Hawaiʻi Pae ʻAina of the Kingdom of Hawaii from January 11, 1855 to November 30, 1863. His full Hawaiian name was Alekanetero ʻIolani Kalanikualiholiho Maka o ʻIouli Kūnuiākea o Kūkāʻilimoku.

Queen Emma of Hawaii Queen consort of King Kamehameha IV from 1856 to his death in 1863

Emma Kalanikaumakaʻamano Kaleleonālani Naʻea Rooke of Hawaiʻi was queen of Hawaii as the wife of King Kamehameha IV from 1856 to his death in 1863. She was later a candidate for the throne but King Kalākaua was elected instead.

Mary Lambert Jones Dominis was the first mistress of Washington Place in Honolulu. She was also the mother of John Owen Dominis, Prince Consort of the Kingdom of Hawaii, and mother-in-law of Hawaii's final monarch Queen Liliʻuokalani. She is credited with starting the Christmas tree and Santa Claus traditions for Christmas in Hawaii

Celebrations today

The annual Honolulu City Lights ceremony features a 50-foot Norfolk pine Christmas tree decorated with bright lights and elaborate decorations. There is also live entertainment. [1]

<i>Araucaria heterophylla</i> species of plant

Araucaria heterophylla is a vascular plant in the ancient and now disjointly distributed conifer family Araucariaceae. As its vernacular name Norfolk Island pine implies, the tree is endemic to Norfolk Island, a small island in the Pacific Ocean between New Zealand and New Caledonia, about 1440 km east of Sydney, Australia. The genus Araucaria occurs across the South Pacific, especially concentrated in New Caledonia where 13 closely related and similar-appearing species are found. It is sometimes called a star pine, Polynesian pine, triangle tree or living Christmas tree, due to its symmetrical shape as a sapling, although it is not a true pine.

The traditions on Christmas day are similar to other places; a large meal is eaten and then, as the beach is often nearby in Hawaii, surfing or swimming often takes place in the waters, [7] and musical groups with guitars and ukuleles and dancing hula entertain the crowds on the beach. Santa hats are worn and the traditional Santa's sleigh and reindeer are replaced by an outrigger canoe pulled by dolphins. [7] The different cultures and ethnic groups that have settled in the islands celebrate the Christmas traditions of Hawaii in their own unique ways, which may be religious or plainly secular. Even Santa Claus (Hawaiian: Kanakaloka) himself is not wearing his corporate red and white suit, but has swapped it for flowery Hawaiian clothes. [7]

Hula Polynesian dance

Hula is a Polynesian dance form accompanied by chant (oli) or song. It was developed in the Hawaiian Islands by the Polynesians who originally settled there. The hula dramatizes or portrays the words of the oli or mele in a visual dance form.

Santa Claus Folkloric figure, said to deliver gifts to children on Christmas Eve

Santa Claus, also known as Saint Nicholas, Kris Kringle, Father Christmas, or simply Santa, is a legendary figure originating in Western Christian culture who is said to bring gifts to the homes of well-behaved children on the night of Christmas Eve and the early morning hours of Christmas Day. The modern Santa Claus grew out of traditions surrounding the historical Saint Nicholas, the British figure of Father Christmas and the Dutch figure of Sinterklaas. Some maintain Santa Claus also absorbed elements of the Germanic god Wodan, who was associated with the pagan midwinter event of Yule and led the Wild Hunt, a ghostly procession through the sky.

Christmas wreaths are made from the poinsettia plant. [3]

Mele Kalikimaka

Mele Kalikimaka Mele Kalikimaka.jpg
Mele Kalikimaka

The phrase "Mele Kalikimaka" can be translated from Hawaiian to mean "Merry Christmas". [8] It is also a Hawaiian themed Christmas song composed by Robert Alex Anderson in 1949. The phrase is borrowed directly from English, but, since Hawaiian has a different phonological system (in particular, Hawaiian does not possess the /r/ or /s/ of English, nor does it have the phonotactic constraints to allow consonants at the end of a syllable), "Merry Christmas" becomes "Mele Kalikimaka". [9]

There is also a more modern take on this song, called "Melekalikimaka" by rock band The Beach Boys from the compilation album Ultimate Christmas . [10]

See also

Related Research Articles

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John Young (advisor) British subject who became an important military advisor to Kamehameha I

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Nancy Sumner

Nancy Wahinekapu Sumner was a high chiefess during the Kingdom of Hawaii of Hawaiian, Tahitian and English descent. She served as lady-in-waiting of Queen Emma and was one of the most prominent ladies of the Hawaiian royal court during the reigns of Kamehameha IV and Kamehameha V.

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Keanolani was a Hawaiian chiefess (aliʻi) of the Kingdom of Hawaii. She was the illegitimate daughter of Abigail Maheha and King Kamehameha V, who reigned from 1863 to 1872, and was born during a liaison between the two when they were students at the Chiefs' Children's School, a boarding school run by American missionaries for students of Hawaiian royal descent. Keanolani was raised by her father's half-sister Keʻelikōlani. Her illegitimate birth and unacknowledged parentage prevented her from succeeding to the Hawaiian throne when her father died without naming an heir, thus ending the reign of the House of Kamehameha. In 1873, she became a mistress of her uncle by marriage William Hoapili Kaʻauwai. In 1874, she became a supporter of the newly elected House of Kalākaua. She married and left descendants. Her name is also often spelled as Keano or Keanu. In one source, she is named as Keauoʻokalau.

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  1. 1 2 3 4 "Hawaii Christmas – Christmas with Aloha, Mele Kalikimaka!". Aloha Hawaii. Retrieved 2011-12-14.
  2. "Hawaiian Christmas and New Year's Phrases and Words – Celebrating Christmas in Hawaii". Retrieved 2011-12-14.
  3. 1 2 "Christmas Traditions in Hawaii". Retrieved 2011-12-14.
  4. "Christmas Tradition in Hawaii". Retrieved 2011-12-14.
  5. Thrum, Thomas G., ed. (1921). "'Santa Claus' Advent in Honolulu". Hawaiian Almanac and Annual for 1922. Honolulu: Honolulu Star-Bulletin. pp. 58–61.
  6. Kanahele, George S. (1999). Emma: Hawaii's Remarkable Queen. Honolulu: University of Hawaii Press. pp. 157–159. ISBN   978-0-8248-2240-8. OCLC   40890919.
  7. 1 2 3 "Christmas Traditions of Hawaii". Archived from the original on 2011-11-30. Retrieved 2011-12-14.
  8. Elbert, S. & Pukui, M.; Hawaiian Dictionary, page 481
  9. Golston, Chris; Yang, Phong (2001). "White Hmong loanword phonology". In Féry, A.D. Green; van de Vijver, R. (eds.). Proceedings of HILP. 5. University of Potsdam: Potsdam. pp. 40–57.
  10. "Beach Boys – Hip Christmas Music". Retrieved 2011-12-26.