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Cultivating Protocol for Lei, Other Adornments

April 2, 2013, 6:17 PM HST
* Updated April 15, 4:15 PM
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Many of our participating hālau are in a sacred time of preparation for this year’s Merrie Monarch Festival.

Flowers and ferns and other foliage as well as shells are gathered before the competition.

Some other hula traditions continue the teachings of our Hawaiian ancestors with certain guidelines in preparation for competition or a special event. Dancers honor the gathering with certain protocols that are taught by each hula teacher.

Depending on the tradition, gathering will be done according to the moon calendar and prepared accordingly. When flowers, ferns or shells are gathered, it is common to see each group share an oli or chant of aloha or gratitude asking permission to enter and gather what is needed. It is very important that permission is granted before entering.

Cleaning of the area is usually done as gathering is taking place as showing respect and gratitude is instilled in each dancer. Every flower or fern picked is done with intention, while only picking what you need is a Hawaiian value, ensuring that there will be more to flourish for future gatherings.

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Upon completion, the closing protocol again involves an oli or chant, giving thanks to the elements and the forest or sea.

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Hawaiian gathering protocol continues to ensure the respect of place and to ensure the continued protection of our indigenous plants, shells and other materials.

The protocol for the forest and sea is highly honored by each dancer because of its representation to the dance and the hula tradition that will be shared on the Merrie Monarch stage.

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