On Saturday morning, the last day of the Merrie Monarch (MM) hula festival, rain or shine, the town of Hilo gets ready for the colorful parade. Downtown Hilo is always bustling on Saturday morning with patrons heading to the Hilo Farmer’s Market; but, add the few hundred visitors who descend during this week, and it gets pretty hectic. Parking gets crazy. But, it is all worth the trouble, except when you have a little one to tow around.
My favorite part of the MM parade is seeing all the lovely pa’u riders, especially as they honor each of the main eight Hawaiian islands with a princess and entourage riding on horses. Each island is represented with a different color and a different native plant or flower. In Hawaiian, wahine means woman. I love seeing the women dressed in their long skirts, and especially seeing them wear all the lovely fresh leis and flower arrangements, including in their hair and on their horses. I cannot imagine how much time and energy it must take to gather all the native plants and begin to prepare these leis for their horses and themselves.
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