Queen for a day

The sounds of chanting and songs rang throughout Kokee last Saturday as hundreds of people gathered to commemorate the legacy of Queen Emma, the wife of Kamehameha IV, during this year’s 25th annual Emalani Festival.

The one-day celebration, also known as the Eo e Emalani I Alakai Festival, is held on the second Saturday of October to commemorate Queen Emma’s 1871 journey to the upland forests in Kokee

During that journey, it is said that the queen stopped in Kokee, where she told stories and had members of her entourage dance upon a large, flat rock called the Pohaku Hula.

Dancers and kumu hula from about 22 hula halaus from Hawaii, the Mainland, Japan and Europe participated in this year’s festival.

Changes included the addition of a pau unit from Oahu, consisting of eight horses and riders, who escorted this year’s Emalani Festival Queen, Celeste Kanoelani Naleimaile, and her entourage at the beginning of the celebration.

This year’s festival also commemorated the first time that two Honolulu-based nonprofits associated with or created by Queen Emma, The Daughters of Hawaii and Iolani Guild, attended the festival.

The celebration also coincided with the Kokee Museum’s 60th birthday, which is being commemorated by an exhibit that showcases photos from previous Emalani Festivals dating back to 2003.

That exhibit, which was created by Kauai artist Michelle Dick, will be on display at Kokee Museum through Nov. 30.

Info: www.kokee.org or info@kokee.org.

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