Protestant missionaries introduced the Christmas holiday to the Native Hawaiians with their arrival around 1820. Before the arrival of the missionaries, Native Hawaiians celebrated a festival named Makahiki which lasted four months and in which all wars were forbidden. The season contained the essence of “peace and goodwill to all men”.
The first recorded Christmas in Hawaii was in 1786, when the captain of the Queen Charlotte, was docked at Kauai. Captain Dixon and his crew celebrated a large Christmas dinner which included a whole roast pig.
Christmas traditions are similar to other places in the United States—a large meal is eaten and then, as the beach is often nearby, surfing or swimming takes place after the meal, Families break out the guitars and ukuleles, and hula dances are performed. Instead of fir and cedar, Hawaiian Christmas wreaths are often made of poinsettia.
The traditional Santa’s sleigh and reindeer are replaced by an outrigger canoe pulled by dolphins. The different cultures and ethnic groups that have settled in the islands celebrate the Christmas traditions of Hawaii in their own unique ways, which may be religious or secular. Santa Claus—known as Kanakaloka—has shed his fluffy red, white fur-trimmed suit for more suitable aloha-style fashion.
For more behind the scene photos of Aloha Rose, visit http://www.pinterest.com/quiltsoflove/aloha-rose-by-lisa-carter/.