Hawaii Island Arts & Culture

The Merrie Monarch Festival (follows Easter Sunday in March - April) is the world’s premier hula event held in Hilo. This weeklong celebration of the native art of the hula happens every Easter with halau (hula schools) from every island and the mainland practicing year-round for the event. This moving expression of music, dance and storytelling is part of how the people of Hawaii Island continue to perpetuate and interpret the Hawaiian culture and its uniquely affirmative spirit of aloha.

Hilo town is also home to an array of museums, galleries, and performance venues where you can admire the work of local painters, sculptors, musicians, storytellers, and crafts people.

The Merrie Monarch Festival is just one example of how the people of Hawaii Island locals live comfortably in the present but with great respect for the past. The mana (spiritual power) is still strong at important historical places like Puuhonua o Honaunau National Historical Park and Puukohola Heiau Historic Site. Today, with an active volcano still shaping the land at Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, the people of Hawaii Island continue to forge their own history.

Whether it’s through paintings, sculptures, glassware, jewelry or hand-carved koa wood bowls, you’ll see the distinct styles that make the art found on Hawaii Island truly unique.
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Visit a farmers’ market on Hawaii’s Big Island and sample some of the island’s freshest fruits. The Hilo Farmers Market is one of Hawaii’s best.
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One visit to a Hawaii Island festival will inspire you to return again and again.
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Heritage Sites of Hawaii are special places located throughout the islands that provide significant historical, cultural and environmental contributions to the understanding and enjoyment of Hawaii.
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From the birthplace of King Kamehameha to the birthplace of paniolo, Hawaii Island is home to some of the most historic places in Hawaii.
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You'll find live music venues throughout Hawaii Island in restaurants, lounges and in the island's fine hotels and resorts.
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Hawaii’s Big Island has a rich paniolo, or Hawaiian cowboy, culture dating back to the early 1800’s.
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Hawaii’s Big Island has some of the most extensive sacred petroglyphs fields in Hawaii.
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Maunakea on Hawaii’s Big Island is home to one of the most renowned astronomical sites on the planet.
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