May Day Program: The Four Royals

May Day Queen

First Hawaiian May Day Queen at school

While growing up in Hawaii, May 1st was celebrated with May Day school programs including a royal king and queen, and princesses representing the 8 Hawaiian Islands. I remember being Queen for a day in 6th grade when I was selected (based on scholastic achievement) by my elementary school teachers for the May Day program. Our royal court sat underneath the shade of the huge monkey pod tree while children from classes K-6 performed Hawaiian dances for us. Today, elementary schools stagger their May Day programs throughout the month rather than only on May 1st. (See more photo memories of growing up in Hawaii.)

The Four Royals

May 1 Program: The Four Royals

This May Day I will be wearing my Hawaiian history hat as I give a presentation on Na Lani Eha – The Four Royals. This is my fourth in the Oral History & Sing-along Series at Kaunoa Senior Center. Program attendees will learn about King Kalākaua, Queen Lili’uokalani, Princess Likelike, and Prince Leleiohōku, and learn to sing some of their compositions that remain popular today.

As former historian for the Ahahui Ka’ahumanu, a royal society of Native Hawaiian women honoring Queen Ka’ahumanu, I used to give 5-minute talks on Hawaiian history at our monthly general membership meetings. A few years ago, I started expanding my research efforts to prepare 1 hour-long PowerPoint presentations on Hawaiian History at Kaunoa Senior Center (where I also teach ukulele classes). This year, I began a new series that includes a sing-along component which has become quite popular.

Did you know there is an organization called the Hawaiian Music Hall of Fame? The non-profit corporation was established in 1994 and honors individuals, groups, institutions, songs, and chanters of Hawaiian music. Noted patrons are royal siblings King Kalākaua, Queen Lili’uokalani, Princess Likelike and Prince Leleiohōku. Referred to as the Royal Four, all were composers who enriched Hawaii’s musical culture and history.

If you are age 55 or better, you can sign up for my Lunch & Learn program titled “Na Lani Eha – The Four Royals” on May 1 from 10:00 a.m. to noon at Kaunoa Senior Center in Spreckelsville. Call the office at 808-270-7308.

Aloha, Mele Fong aka Ukulele Mele