Merrie Monarch Festival currently leading in USA Today poll

Halau o Kekuhi, under the direction of na kumu hula Nalani Kanaka‘ole and Huihui Kanahele Mossman, performs in 2022 the 59th Merrie Monarch Ho‘ike. (Kelsey Walling/Tribune-Herald)


Kumu hula Johnny Lum Ho's haumana pay tribute to him during the 2023 Merrie Monarch Ho'ike at Edith Kanaka‘ole Multi-Purpose Stadium in Hilo. (Kelsey Walling/Tribune-Herald file photo)

The Merrie Monarch Festival is uniquely Hawaiian in nature but of worldwide interest. The festival, held yearly in Hilo, is dedicated to King David Kalakaua, the “Merrie Monarch,” who revived the art of hula — which had been banned after Christian missionaries arrived in Hawaii in the 1820s.