Scenes From the Annual Merrie Monarch Festival (Photos - Video)

Hawaiian arts and culture will be featured May 24-26 at the National Museum of the American Indian in Washington, D.C. during the 2013 Celebrate Hawaii Festival.

Events include special screenings of the film State of Aloha and a concert featuring Amy Hanaiali`i Gilliom, a four-time Grammy nominee, leading up to the festival itself on May 26.

During the festival, visitors can meet and greet Hawaiian culture bearers who are practitioners of the traditional Hawaiian arts related to voyaging and canoes, according to the museum.

There will also be opportunites to watch and learn about hula, cooking demonstrations, as well as other presentations.

The festival coincides with May being Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month.

The Merrie Monarch Festival began in 1963 and has evolved into what is now universally considered to be the world's most prestigious hula competition.

The festival is named in honor of King David Kalakaua, the last king of the Hawaiian islands, whose coronation in 1883 included public displays of hula, which had long been buried under rules imposed by Hawaiian missionaries.

Kalakaua ruled for seventeen years. His reign was marked by a resurgence in Hawaiian culture, music and included numerous public performances of hula. Because of his love of dance and music, Kalakaua was nicknamed, "the Merrie Monarch." In his memory and in celebration of Hawaiian culture, dance and music, the Merrie Monarch Festival is held each year.

Presidential Proclamation -- Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month, 2013

For complete festival details, click here.

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