21 Degrees North Blog — hawaii culture RSS

Happy Motherʻs Day - Hauʻoli lā Makuahine

Celebrations of mothers and motherhood date back to the ancient Greeks and Romans, usually as a part of Spring festivals. In 1905,  a woman named Anna Jarvis created the US incarnation of Motherʻs Day as a way to honor her mother and to promote peace and womenʻs rights.  She believed that a day should be set aside to honor "the person who has done more for you than anyone in the world". In 1914, it became a National holiday to be celebrated on the second Sunday of May.  Although meant to honor motherhood, Anna Jarvis hated the over-commercialization of Motherʻs Day, and ended up fighting to have the holiday annulled and removed from the calendar. From early childhood, I always enjoyed...

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May Day is Lei Day

The origins of May Day celebrations can be traced back to ancient rituals mainly in European countries.   People wove floral garlands, danced around a May Pole and sang and enjoyed the festivities celebrating the arrival of Spring.  I distinctly remember having to weave ribbons around the May Pole in elementary school.....I never quite knew what that was all about or how that blended with what we traditionally know as May Day festivities in Hawaii . For many centuries, Native Hawaiians have been making and giving lei as offerings and gifts.  A tradition shared in many Polynesian cultures.   I remember watching my grandmother stringing lei for a small local florist that used to be  on Kuhio Avenue next to the old Kuhio Theaters (corner...

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