Season of Ohana
by L.P. "Neenz" Faleafine
Contrary to what people believe, we do experience the change in seasons here in Hawaii - you just need to be able to recognize the subtleties beyond the temperature, sunshine, and rain.
For example, if you just returned home from the Honolulu Festival and are watching commercials about the upcoming Kamehameha Schools Song Competition followed by news reports predicting next season's quarterback for the University of Hawaii football team while packing for the Haili's volleyball tournament and fundraising for the Merrie Monarch Festival - then it's Spring.
Before transitioning from Spring to Summer, the tourism industry buzzwords will be, "Golden Week" and schoolchildren will be adorned with lei celebrating May Day through dance. But, while the obvious indications are sun, surf, and sand; residents know that June brings the first wave of mango season!
The change in temperature, (it's currently 66 degrees in Honolulu which requires an extra blanket to keep warm while sleeping), rain, and 'round the clock traffic to the local malls are not so subtle signs that it's the holiday season, more specifically Christmas.
There are more cultural celebrations like Obon, the ukukele festivals held throughout the State, and Aloha Week that allows residents to know which climate season it is elsewhere. However, the commonality of all these subtleties is the sense of community - The Season of Ohana.
As the 50th state, Hawaii has adopted the Christian tradition of celebrating Christmas, following the stories of Santa Claus and gift giving; Mary, Joseph, and Jesus-and football! But, like all of the other seasons, Christmas is more about the season of ohana than any other time. The definition of family in Hawaii transcends blood relationships - friends, relatives, and those away from home are invited to gatherings or paina.
These traditional gatherings do not have cultural boundaries. Families of all ethnicities and all cultures gather and celebrate the Season of Ohana. And the feast that's prepared is as cosmopolitan as the family members. A traditional spread often includes a turkey with all of the fixings, a large pan of chow mein noodles, several freshly steamed lau lau, a pot of beef stew simmering next to a pot of pork 'n peas, homemade potato salad, and a tray of sushi.
Bred, born, and raised in Hawaii L.P. "Neenz" Faleafine is the Chief Evangelist for leading news aggregation site, Alltop and the Founder of media marketing company, Pono Media and Founding Partner of interactive media publishing company, Grilled Cornbread, LLP. Often described as an Ambassador of Aloha, Neenz is also the Executive Editor of Hawaii Traditions. You can follow @NEENZ on Twitter.