Christmas in Hawai`i is nowadays celebrated much the same as it is elsewhere in the Western World, with tree-lightings, Santa appearances, gifts, and holiday feasts. And though these traditions weren’t embraced in the islands until the Boston Missionaries brought them in the early 1800s, the original Hawaiians did celebrate what was called Makahiki season. Makahiki consists of four lunar months — November through February — and during this season war was kapu (forbidden), religious ceremonies were observed, offerings were made to the ali`i, and the people spent their time feasting, playing sports, and practicing good will toward others.
Waikoloa Beach Resort guests will have the opportunity to enjoy a full schedule of holiday entertainment Hawaiian style, with everything from the Sasha Knowles Dance troupe performing “Nutcracker with a Twist” to the Hawaii Preparatory Academy’s Handbell Choir.
And if you’re a fan of your favorite holiday songs played on a Hawaiian guitar, you will want to see “John Keawe’s Hawaiian Christmas” on December 23. Keawe, one of Hawai`i Island’s favorite guitar players and native sons, is a Grammy-winning slack-key guitarist and composer. His 1996 recording, Christmas Is, gained popular acclaim for his enchanting instrumental takes on Christmas songs.
“My Christmas album was all slack key instrumentals,” Keawe says. “I’ll be playing some of those songs during the show, as well as some other Christmas songs that include my wife and grandkids singing and dancing hula. For me, Christmas is a family time. In fact, several of my Christmas songs were inspired by my grandkids. I overheard them wondering how Santa was going to get to the islands, so I wrote “Santa’s Coming Over the Rainbow.”