Now in its 24th year, this highly anticipated festival allows visitors and locals alike the opportunity to experience authentic Hawaiian culture through various activities such as hands-on art demonstrations, informative speaker panels, historic films, cultural panels, and traditional music and dance. The Celebration of the Arts Festival has been deemed the “Number 1 rated cultural event” by Modern Luxury Hawaii magazine and has been the recipient of the coveted “Keep it Hawaii Kahili Award” presented by the Hawaii Tourism Association. This year’s theme, “Ka ‘ike kuhohonu…deep thought,” is centered around mindfulness, encouraging te younger generation to embrace the surrounding Hawaiian culture.
Nestled within the 22,000-acre Kapalua Resort, The Ritz-Carlton, Kapalua proudly maintains the Honokahua Preservation Site – a recognized “wahi pana” (sacred site) that lies adjacent to the resort, and serves as a destination where Native Hawaiians gather to conduct ceremonial rituals and honor their ancestors. Upon the resort’s opening in 1992, The Ritz-Carlton, Kapalua brought on the first Cultural Advisor of the Hawaiian Islands and Ritz-Carlton brand, Clifford Nae’ole, who created the Celebration of the Arts Festival to further enrich and educate guests and locals about the resort’s deep Hawaiian cultural roots and historical surroundings.
“We are thrilled to be bringing back the Celebration of the Arts Festival for the 24th consecutive year,” says Clifford Nae’ole, Cultural Advisor at The Ritz-Carlton, Kapalua. “Celebrating and honoring our native Hawaiian culture is an important aspect of the resort, and it is a treasured experience to be able to share that with our guests throughout this special weekend.”
During the weekend, guests will enjoy traditional Hawaiian oli (chants), music, hula, cultural ceremonies, and impromptu performances that reflect upon the spirit of aloha that the islands are known for. The “Celebration of Island Tastes” will culminate the weekend festivities bringing together the foods of traditional Hawaii and the contemporary cuisine of The Ritz-Carlton, Kapalua chefs.
A sampling of Celebration of the Arts Festival activities include:
• Hiuwai and E ala e – A native Hawaiian cleansing & sunrise protocol, this is an annual tradition of the Celebration of the Arts. Guests are invited to join cultural practitioners for an invigorating ceremony guaranteed to rejuvenate the body and spirit. Chants are offered by all to the rising sun. *Attendees should bring swimwear and towels.
• Inu ka awa – During this private awa ceremony, Hawaiian practitioners and Hotel Executives sit on the sacred mat to sip the bitter waters of Kane…pledging support to all things Hawaiian. *By invite only, however public viewing is encouraged.
• Wehe ka ipuka – Traditional Hawaiian opening protocol with genealogical chants are offered at the doorway to the hotel. This authentic ceremony is not to be missed as participants pay tribute to their ancestors and ask to be a part of The 24th Annual Celebration of the Arts. Two deserving kupuna (elders) will be awarded with The Namahana Award of Excellence for living a life where their actions benefitted the greater good.
• Lobby Entertainment – Papa Kukui O Ke Kula ‘O Kamakau - From the island of O’ahu, students of the Hawaiian Language program open the 24th Celebration of the Arts with their talent and love for the hula, song and language of Hawaii.
• “Mother’s Gift, Ka Olelo Makuahine” – The cherished shells of Ni’ihau are available for guests to select and design their own jewelry. Ho’olohe (listen) and Ho’opuka (learn) from the families of Ni’ihau about these shells that are the only kind to be considered “gems”. *Material fee to be charged due to the rarity of the shells
• Hands-on art, art demonstrations & art sales – Local artists will be scattered throughout the hotel showcasing their artwork. *Refer to website for artists, times and locations.
• Celebration of the Arts After Hour Parties – The celebration continues after hours on both Friday and Saturday night with the most top-notch entertainment including local favorite, the Makaha Sons.