Lion Dance and Hawaiian Blessings

On Saturday, the 15th Of January our community dedicated the new community center at the Kunia park.

In Hawaii it is customary to have a Hawaiian blessing and, more often then not, a Chinese Lion Dance. So many in the area showed up for the festivities and quite a banquet of food. Here are some of the highlights from that day.

The Kahu (minister) and his sons

The Kahu who is draped in a Maile lei along with his sons gave the blessing.  The Maile  is one of the oldest form of lei. It has a wonderful light fragrant smell that last for days. It is draped around the neck horseshoe fashon. It is worn quite often by hula dancers. The leaf is a member of the periwinkle family.

Blessing with ti leaf and water

Before anyone can go into the new center the Kahu will sprinkle water around the area and inside of the center with a ti leaf. Ti leaves have been used from ancient times for wrapping food,  used as a dish, or even warmed and put on the forehead to help dispel a headache. They even made rain capes from them because of its ability to resist water.

But in the instance of the blessing the ancient Hawaiians used Ti to attract the good and stave off the bad. You will often see fans at a football game waving the ti leaf to bring good luck to their team.

The Lion (double click on photo to see inside the lions mouth)

The biggest attraction at any of these events is the Lion dance. Young children or young adults perform under these Lion costumes.

Waiting to perform

The lion begins to roar

The Cymbals clash

The drums begin to beat

With the loud clashing and drumming the lion is given his cue as to where and how to move

The lions approach the people. As the lion comes close he will open his mouth and the people will feed it money. This is thought to bring good luck and also helps out the club who is giving the dance.

There are many different types of moves that the Lion Makes. Some dances are very rigorous and include high kicks, jumps and dips.

After the blessing and the dance we all went into the new center. There was quite a buffet set up with different types of sushi, chicken, hot dogs, rice, noodles, pot stickers, lumpia and all types of desserts.

Everyone had a great time. I even ended up volunteering to serve on a committee to set up craft classes.

If you would like to read more about the maile lei you can go to this site.

I’ve also added this site for an interesting back ground on how the lion dance got started here in Hawaii and back ground on the marshal art. Lion Dance





One comment on “Lion Dance and Hawaiian Blessings

  1. Toby Neal says:

    What a wonderful post, Karen! I’m signing up for email subscription, your photos are great!


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