Merrie Monarch Memories

  My daughter's performance at the 2010 Merrie Monarch Hula Festival Miss Aloha Hula competition. Photo by Randy Jay Braun.

My daughter's performance at the 2010 Merrie Monarch Hula Festival Miss Aloha Hula competition. Photo by Randy Jay Braun.

For those of you who may not know, I am the mother of a hula dancer. For 20 of her 25 years my daughter has grown up heavily immersed in hula and Hawaiian culture, one of her greatest passions in life. She began dancing at the age of 5, began dancing competitively in statewide hula competitions with her halau at the age of 13, as well as professionally in private lu'au shows as well as traveling with the Maui Visitors Bureau. Hula has always been one of the biggest parts of her life, and our family has taken such great pride in supporting her through her journey as a dancer as it has greatly shaped her into the woman she is today. 

Her dream since high school has been to compete as a soloist in the Merrie Monarch Festival, which is the most prestigious hula competition in the world, often considered the 'Olympics of Hula' so to speak. My husband and I have had the privilege of attending this wonderful competition the 3 times our daughter has competed, the last of which when she finally realized her dream and represented her halau as a Miss Aloha Hula soloist. It was the challenge and dream of a lifetime for her, and was a moment our family will never forget watching her brave that stage, those lights and cameras and for the thousands of people throughout the world who were watching over the internet livestream. It was a dream come true for us to watch her live her dream come true.

Since then she has allowed herself the opportunity to focus on mastering other passions that have called to her, but hula has and will continue to be a big part of her heart. Thus this past weekend it was wonderful for us to enjoy the Merrie Monarch Festival from the comforts of home with her, as she giddily tweeted after each number and was truly inspired by each performance. It is one of the many gifts we are so fortune to enjoy here in Hawaii, and continues to touch my heart not only by watching Merrie Monarch, but knowing how deeply it moves my daughter...for no matter where she goes, or how many years may pass, I know hula will always live in her heart. 

For those of you who may have missed the festivities, you can check out this year's many wonderful performances on the KFVE website or youtube videos of years' past to enjoy one of the many beautiful parts of our island culture.