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Students perform at 1999 Prince Lot Hula Festival
Students from the Na Pualei o Likolehua hula school, taught by Leina'ala Kalama Heine - July 17, 1999. Photo: Eddie Freeman

Prince Lot Hula Festival

The largest annual statewide non-competitive hula festival/performance in Hawaii, the Prince Lot Hula Festival was established in 1978 with the goal of celebrating and sharing the unique culture, language, and values of Hawaiians through hula, interpretations, demonstrations and exhibits. Each year na halau (hula schools) from throughout the state come to the festival to perform ancient and modern hula on an earthen hula mound beneath centuries-old monkeypod trees on the lovely grounds of the Moanalua Gardens in Honolulu. Every effort is made to ensure the integrity of the festival by stressing proper etiquette and accuracy in presentation, songs, chants and dances. The festival has been awarded numerous prizes and recognition, and has thrived in, and been partial reason for, the renaissance in Hawaiian language and culture.

Prince Lot Kapu`aiwa, the festival's namesake, became Kamehameha V, King of Hawaii, from 1863 to 1872. Lot was noted for his energy, perseverance, and strength of will. Despite Western criticism and waning interest, he promoted the reawakening and preservation of Hawaii culture and traditional events, including hula performances at his residence in Moanalua. Prince Lot's cottage, built in approximately 1853, is situated within the Moanalua Gardens, the Prince Lot Hula Festival venue. The chanting, the movements, the clothing and adornments of the hula represent Hawaiians' perception of the world, and hula masters are the keepers and interpreters of this perception.

Participation in the festival is by invitation only; twelve hula schools will be invited to share their performances during the 2000 Festival. Approximately 9,000 people attend the event each year. Other activities associated with the festival are a unique Hawaiian, hand-stitched quilt exhibit; authentic Hawaiian games demonstrations; demonstrations of traditional Hawaiian lauhala (pandanus) leaf-weaving used to make hats and baskets; Hawaiian instrument-making demonstrations; lei-making demonstrations; and authentic Hawaiian crafts and clothing made by local artisans.

Project documentation includes a five-page narrative; background on the Moanalua Gardens Foundation, ten 8 x 10 color photographs; a Prince Lot Hula Festival program from 1999; a copy of a Moanalua Gardens Foundation newsletter; and a videotape of the 22nd Annual Prince Lot Hula Festival (1999).

Originally submitted by: Daniel K. Inouye, Senator Daniel K. Akaka, Senator Neil Abercrombie, Representative (1st District) & Patsy T. Mink,Representative (2nd District).

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The Local Legacies project provides a "snapshot" of American Culture as it was expressed in spring of 2000. Consequently, it is not being updated with new or revised information with the exception of "Related Website" links.

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