Celebrating culture, everywhere

WAILUA — Kumu Hula Kuualoha Kaulia was amazed at the amount of cultural celebrations taking place on Kauai.

“I’m a judge with the Kauai Mokihana Festival,” the Maui kumu said. “I used to participate in previous festivals, but now, they made me a judge for music and Hawaiian language.”

Kaulia was working with sensei Kaori Shuda of halau Ka Pa Ku Kauiukuupualehua, a group from Yamaguchi-ken, Japan, in discussing and learning hula as it pertains to Kauai.

“Sensei Shuda is a student for Ka Pa Ku Kaiaulu halau on Maui,” Kaulia said. “She flies in from Japan to learn, and takes back the material for her halau. It’s kind of like I have a branch halau in Japan.”

The Mokihana Festival, launching its weeklong celebration last Sunday with traditional Hawaiian services in Kapaa, wraps up with the hula competition from noon today at the Aqua Kauai Beach Resort.

The Japanese halau leaves today, just 30 minutes before the start of the Matsuri event hosted by the Kauai Japanese Cultural Society and the County of Kauai at the Kauai War Memorial Convention Hall from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.

The celebration of Native American nations opened Friday evening at the Kapaa Beach Park and will continue with dance, crafts, food and entertainment through Sunday, starting each day at 11 a.m.

“This is amazing to have so many cultural celebrations taking place at the same time for such a small island,” Kaulia said. “I thought Maui was busy with all kinds of things to do, but you folks on Kauai are just buzzing.”

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