The spirit of aloha

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UNC's Ha’aheo ‘O Hawai’i Club hosted their annual lu'au over the weekend. Photo courtesy of the Asian/Pacific American Student Services website.

The UNC Ha’aheo ‘O Hawai’i Club held their 27th Annual Lū’au in the UC Ballrooms on Saturday.

This yearly celebration was meant to represent and share the Hawaii Club’s deep love and appreciation for Hawaiian culture, traditions and the “Spirit of Aloha” with the UNC community. In order to witness this celebration, visitors had to purchase a seat at a table prior to the event’s starting time. By the time the ticket sales ended for this year’s event, the Hawaii Club had sold 150 seats.

At the lū’au, guests and party participants, most of which were clad in colorful islander garb, were encouraged to enjoy a Hawaiian dinner buffet upon arrival. This buffet featured traditional Hawaiian cuisine such as Shoyu Chicken and Butter Mochi. Also, guests at the lū’au were able to visit a Country Store and put together crafts at the “keiki korner activities” station. The Country Store was a unique shop put together by the Hawaii Club to sell goodies from Hawaii that people would not be able to find anywhere else in Colorado. These goodies included Hawaiian Sun Drinks, arare, which is a bite-sized Japanese cracker, and chocolate macadamia nuts.

Once the guests and various participants had settled into the celebration, the stage was lit up to welcome the courageous student performers of the evening. The six students who performed for the lū’au were all UNC students from Hawaii. Each of their performances were tranquil Hula dances to colorful Hawaiian songs that told unique stories specific to the Pacific Islands. Throughout the performances, the ballrooms were filled with laughter and piercing “cheehoo” cheers as the audience was drawn into the festivities. By the end of the lū’au, a total of 11 Hula dances had been performed.

Although most of the Hula performances were performed in groups, some of the dances were performed by solo artists. One solo performer, UNC freshman Ryan Johnshon, took to the stage as the only male Hula dancer of the evening. Even though Johnson danced as a soloist, he was far from alone, with a large cheering section full of supportive students and friends.

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Also included in the festivities were games and lessons about Hawaiian phrases and traditions for the laymen in the audience; by the end of the evening the audience knew that shouting “chee hoo” was a traditional Hawaiian cheer of excitement. The emcee, UNC senior Mika Tancayo, directed these activities throughout the evening, weaving them seamlessly in between intermissions and Hula dances. All the while Tancayo sported a smile that emanated into each corner of the ballrooms. This year’s celebration was the third time that Tancayo has been the emcee for the lū’au.

One of the games that Tancayo directed was “Gimme Gimme,” where members of the audience were instructed to locate and bring specific items to the emcee. UNC junior Luke Hall won a goody bag of candy and different Hawaiian toys after winning a round.

Even though the lū’au was leaning towards a formal event requiring prior reservations, the celebration of Hawaiian culture and traditions was laid back and exuberant at the same time. This special islander ambiance was achieved by the Hawaii Club’s Lū’au Committee; the ten members of the committee worked behind the scenes during the event to insure that the lighting, music and timing of the celebration was on point.

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