The Arts News

May Day is Lei Day

Celebrate May Day on Sunday, May 1

Posted on March 28, 2016 by Scot Allen

Mid-Pacific Kumu Hula Lanakila Casupang and Pūpūkahi I Ke Alo O Nā Pua invite you to celebrate "May Day is Lei Day in Hawaiʻi" Sunday, May 1, 2016, in the historic Hawaiʻi Theatre.

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In the 28 year history of Pūpūkahi I Ke Alo O Nā Pua, the concert has never taken place on May 1, May Day in Hawaiʻi. "We hope you might consider joining us in this tradition by honoring what makes Hawaiʻi so special: its flowers, its many fragrant lei and the youth of Hawaiʻi," he says.

Pūpūkahi has also been working hard coordinating and collaborating with all of the arts disciplines on campus to celebrate the 25th anniversary of Mid-Pacific School of the Arts within the show and to bring all of it to one stage. In addition -- in the inaugural year of the Hawaiian Studies Certificate program -- students will be incorporating their research into different aspects of the show as part of their presentations of learning.

And, says Casupang, "Donʻt forget the most important thing, wherever you are, on Sunday, May 1, 'Make a lei, wear a lei, give a lei.' We are hoping that everyone who attends this concert will be wearing a lei!"

Ticket prices are $20, $30, $35 and $50 and available at the Hawaiʻi Theatre beginning April 5, 2016.

A portion of the show will highlight the group's recent trip to Kauaʻi. "There were many opportunities to commune with nature, to be open to the elements that surround us and to be disconnected from their technological world for five days," Casupang said.

A key memory from the trip moment was going up to Kalalau Valley to pay respects to their friend Keli, who became part of the Pūpūkahi ʻOhana when they first met him in 1992 as a bus driver.

"He became our friend, our photographer, and our chef. We lost him in 2011 on the night of Baccalaureate, but scattered his ashes at Kalalau Valley as he requested. On the recent trip, upon arrival, the valley and the parking lot were covered in mist, a sign that Keli was welcoming us. You see, when we scattered his ashes back in 2011, there was a clear view of the Valley. When we finished scattering his ashes, the mist rolled in and we knew that he was home. We greeted him with chant, but as I tried to chant, I was overcome with emotion as I realized how much I missed him. I finally made it through and then asked Keli if he was ready to hear and see his song that we wrote for him in 1998."

The girls took their place and the music began. As they started to dance, the sun began to emerge through the clouds. The ocean was on their left, and the valley floor closest to the ocean started to clear of mist and the sun's rays began to illuminate that area.

"As the girls continued to dance, I joined them, the mist started to dissipate and reveal the glorious home of our friend Keli. Most of the students have never witnessed this type of hōʻailona or omens in nature."