Saturday, June 11 is Kamehameha Day, the birthday of Hawai’i’s First King, and one of two state holidays honoring Hawaiian ali’i (royalty). I will be marching along with my Ahahui Ka’ahumanu sisters in the commemorative march organized by the Royal Order of Kamehameha. We are usually joined by members of the two other royal societies and friends as we march down Ka’ahumanu Avenue to Hoaloha Park to honor King Kamehameha’s memory on his actual birthday. This is not a parade with floats. In the top photo, here is the scene in front of me as we marched down the street. In the bottom photo, my Uncle Clifford Hashimoto as Ali’i Ai Moku, meaning the head of the statewide Royal Order of Kamehameha, gets ready to welcome participants at the end of the march. In turn, each head of the four royal societies says something during the ceremonies before we adjourn for lunch.
The first time I participated in the march was in 2005, after being initiated into the Ahahui Ka’ahumanu Chapter IV Wailuku in September 2004. Members are Native Hawaiian women who are sponsored into the organization that honors Queen Ka’ahumanu’s memory as favorite wife of Kamehameha and more. I am proud of my Hawaiian heritage. As past historian for the Ahahui, I used to give short 5-minute historical talks at membership meetings and at public events. I have since expanded those talks to 2-hour PowerPoint presentations that I present to the public to keep our Hawaiian stories and traditional music alive.
On January 11, I gave a presentation on Hawai’i’s First King as the first program in my Hawaiian History Series for 2016 at Kaunoa Senior Center for adults 55 and better. We learned about Kamehameha who lived from 1758-1810, and sang 4 songs relating to him and the time period. Read more about the program.
Last year, I did an Oral History and Sing-Along Program on June 11, King Kamehameha’s actual birthday and state holiday, at the Bailey House Museum in Wailuku. The 2-hour program included a short lecture about the King and the singing of 9 traditional Hawaiian songs and the stories behind them in keeping with Hawaiian cultural traditions. Read more about the program.
One of the songs related to Kamehameha that ‘ukulele players can learn is Na Ali’i, a song written in 1928 by Samuel Kuahiwi in praise of the chiefs and includes two of their famous sayings. Subscribers to Complete Monthly Online Lessons can learn to play the song with my Hum Ding-Ah Strum, download the PDF song sheets, view the video lesson, play along with the audio recording, and watch the video story in the lesson along with 49 other lessons for 30 days at-a-time.
Aloha, Mele Fong aka Ukulele Mele