Sunday, June 14, 2009
Thursday, June 11, 2009
If you're lucky enough to be anywhere in Hawaii today, then you get to party on through the festivities of King Kamehameha Day, and you're having a fabulous time! If you're not lucky enough to be anywhere in Hawaii today (like me), well, then you and I can live vicariously as I tell you all about what we're missing.
King Kamehameha Day is celebrated annually in Hawaii on June 11th, to honor the life and times of its greatest statesman, warrior, and king, known as Kamehameha the Great.
Some interesting historical facts on the day
- King Kamehameha Day was established by royal decree of the ruling great-grandson, Kamehameha V, in 1871, and first celebrated on June 11, 1872.
- It is one of the first holidays proclaimed by the Governer of Hawaii and the State Legislature upon Hawaii's transformation to statehood in 1959.
- King Kamehameha Day is the only holiday in the United States created to honor a once-reigning monarch in the only state that was once a kingdom.
- 2009 marks the 137th anniversary of the celebration of King Kamehameha Day.
Who was King Kamehameha?
At the time of his birth, Hawaiians believed Kamehameha fulfilled the traditional prophesy that there would be a male born who would vanquish all other chiefs, becoming the greatest of all Hawaiian chiefs, and that the sign of his birth would be a comet. Kamehameha's actual birthdate is not specifically known, but is sometimes listed as between 1748 and 1761, and some believe it was 1758 - a year that Halley's Comet was visible from Hawaii.
He spent his childhood being trained in warfare skills and preparing for the role of warrior-king of the Island of Hawaii. He went on to use these skills as the first king to unify the Hawai'ian Islands: Ni'ihau, Kaua'i, O'ahu, Moloka'i, Lānaʻi, Kaho'olawe, Maui, and Hawai'i. Once this was achieved, Kamehameha ruled in peace for the rest of his life: establishing trade with foreign countries, introducing new plant and animal life, promoting agriculture, and fostering industry. He was known as the "Napoleon of the Pacific" for his achievements in warfare and diplomacy, and died in 1819.
King Kamehameha Day Festivities
The earliest observances of the day included various competitions: horse racing, Velocipede races, sack races, wheelbarrow races, and foot races. In 1901, the tradition of the lei draping ceremony was added, where statues of King Kamehameha are decorated with leis.
In 1939, the King Kamehameha Celebration Commission was established and charged with organizing and running all festival activities. Today, those activities include:
- The traditional lei draping ceremony of King Kamehameha's statues
- The King Kamehameha Hula Competition, which has gained international attention
- The floral parades held at many locations throughout Hawaii, which include what has become a favorite feature: traditional pa'u riders. (The pa'u riders reperesent a royal court let by a queen on horseback, followed by princesses representing the 8 major islands of Hawaii and Molokini.)
- The Ho'olaule'a, which means "celebration," and is a big block party with food and music.
- The cultural exhibits set up throughout Kapi'olani Park, which are full of arts and crafts, games, sports, etc.
- And of course, there are feasts. (What celebration would be complete without those?)
So, if you're there, have a wonderful King Kamehameha Day! And if you're not, start saving your pennies - you have 364 days to pile 'em up so you can get to King Kamehameha Day 2010.
Thursday, June 4, 2009
Even the most open-minded among us tend to pigeonhole people into Types. We use Type to describe personality: Type A, Type B, Type Where-Did-They-Get-This-Guy? We use Type to accept or reject possible romantic interests: "Him?? Ewww. He is, like, so not my type." We use Type to explain behavior: "I knew she wouldn't green light that experimental project. She is such a pessimist."
We even use Type as we run our own lives. Back in college, my friends chose their class sections based on the time the class met, because, "No way did I sign up for that 8 AM class. I'm totally not a Morning Person." Now, me? I did pick those 8 AM classes. But it wasn't that I'm a Morning Person. Because I'm not. I hate getting up early. (So why did I pick 8 AM classes, you ask? Well, that's another story for another time.)
Aaaanyway, the whole Morning Person Business brings me to my point for today (and you thought I didn't have one): what if there isn't an existing Type that fits you? See, every time I've heard someone say, "I'm a (insert time-of-day here) person," I've only ever heard two choices to insert here: Morning...or Night. And I don't fit into either one of those Types.
My non-conformity is most noticeable in my writing life. Take today, for example. (Or really, any day in the last oh-so-many months.) This morning, the itch to write made itself known. My fingers alternately clenched into fists and then splayed wide open, and my eyes lingered on my writing bag as I hurried past it to get the kiddos ready and off to school. Then, once they stampeded onto the bus, I hurried to finish the mundane tasks of life: brushing my teeth (oh, yes...don't get too close to me at the bus stop), folding underwear (which I assumed were clean), and shoving Dust Bunnies back into their hidey holes. Once all of that was out of the way, I finally cracked open the laptop, ready to pour out some thoughts.
And that's where it all came to a screeching halt. What to write? What to write? Twiddle, twiddle, twiddle. I realized I could either waste time with an empty head and an absent muse, or I could move on to errands (grocery run, pay the dentist run, get a new house key made run) so I could come back home and try to write again. So, I ran the errands, came home, unloaded the truck, put away the groceries (well, mostly), then sat down at my computer to try again.
Still, nothing interesting seemed to be flowing. So, I checked email. I looked in on Facebook. I leafed through writer mags. Leaf, leaf, leaf. And then: Oh! Hey! What a great quote! Scribble, scribble, scribble. Finally, inspiration strikes! Yes! I have today's blog post! Gleefully, I sign into my blog, and it's wonderful, and the words are tumbling over each other in their haste to flow out of my fingers to the keyboard.
And then, I glance at the clock. Crappity-crap-crap! The kiddos will be home in a little over an hour, and I only just got started, and I have so much great stuff to write. But once Handsome Boy and Lovely Girl come bounding off of the bus, my laptop shuts down and my pen lies idle, because at that point, my day belongs to them. I'm not the Type who can write while kiddos clamor around me, eager to show me all their treasures from their day. Thus, my writing mojo must be cut short.
So, I'm not a Morning Person. And I'm not a Night Person. I'm not even an I-Can-Write-in-Chaos person. I don't fit. I'm the square peg trying to squeeze into a round hole.
So you know what? It's time for a new Type.
I'm an Afternoon Person!