The Merrie Monarch Festival is a week-long celebration of Hawaiian culture and the arts that takes place each year on the Big Island of Hawai’i. The festival was created in honor of King David Kalākaua, who was a patron of the arts and Hawaiian culture. The event features hula competitions, art exhibits, cultural workshops, and more. If you’re looking to experience some authentic Hawaiian culture, be sure to check out the Merrie Monarch Festival!
How Did Merrie Monarch Start?
The name “Merrie Monarch” is attributed directly to the King, who loved the dance, song, and artwork of Hawaii. The historic I’olani Palace was built during his time as King of Hawaii. King David Kalākaua was an important figure in Hawaiian history because of his dedication to preserving Hawaiian culture and love of the arts. The Merrie Monarch Festival, though, started long after King Kalākaua passed. In its current form, every aspect of the festival is dedicated to his influence and importance in Hawaiian history. Originally, when the first festival happened in 1964, it was smaller, including performances from a barbershop quartet and a relay race.
How Did the Merrie Monarch Grow?
In 1971 a hula competition was added, and the competition was opened to men in 1976. This year was an important one for Hawaii, as the “Hawaiian Renaissance” was gaining even more momentum. Sharing and celebrating Hawaiian music, arts, stories, and language was more popular than ever.
2013 marked the 50th anniversary of the Merrie Monarch Festival, an especially spectacular event. Initially, the festival was focused on boosting Hawaii’s economy through tourism. Now, the festival has taken on a life of its own and is a powerful testament to the spirit of aloha and community here in our islands.
Visit Our Neighbor Island – Big Island
In Hawaiian, “Hawaii” means “Big Island”. So, when you visit, you’re going to Hawai’i, Hawai’i! The Merrie Monarch Festival is held each year in Hilo, Hawai’i. Read about last year’s event and stay connected by visiting the official website.
Join Us for a Luau Experience on O’ahu
Don’t have time to hop on a plane? Our Luau Experience on O’ahu features local and Hawaiian food, hula and fire spinning performances, plus live music from local performers!