Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Hawaii for the Holidays

Snow is overrated. Who really wants to spend all day in the kitchen? In-laws can be a headache. Who has time to deal with a cat stuck in the Christmas tree? Why not spend the holidays in 70-degree weather spotting humpback whales, snorkeling around reefs and hiking extinct volcanoes. That’s right, it’s the holiday season in Maui. Mele Kalikimaka!

Of course, the Hawaiian Islands have incorporated many mainland holiday traditions into its culture with a little bit of aloha. The Santa Clause of the islands is more inclined to wear an aloha shirt than a fur coat. Forget the sleigh, Hawaiian Santa paddles an outrigger canoe. Instead of a large turkey, holidays feasts prominently feature roast pigs. Traditional fir trees are replaced with locally grown Norfolk pines.

Most of those traditions were imported to the island by Christian missionaries. But long before the 17th century, ancient Hawaiians celebrated a similar festival. Known as Makahiki, the roughly five-month celebration, from October to March, of their bountiful lands was in honor of the Hawaiian god of fertility and agriculture, Lono. All war was forbidden during Makahiki for, among many reasons, assurance that nothing would adversely affect the new crops. Festivities included wrestling, javelin throwing, surfing, canoe racing, singing and feasting. The message of peace and goodwill toward all, typically associated with the modern holiday season, also applied to Makahiki.

Families spending their holidays on the island of Maui have a plethora of festive activities to choose from. Getting into the holiday spirit is easy on the Valley Isle. A must-attend event, occurring yearly in the hip town of Lahaina, is the annual lighting of the town’s historic banyan tree, which was planted in 1873. The massive, multi-trunked tree spreads across nearly an acre and will be covered with thousands of lights, which will come to life during a community ceremony taking place the first weekend of December. A sunset helicopter tour over the island provides another option for a magical evening. Nothing says happy holidays like flying 150 mph aboard one of our preferred vendor’s sleighs.

If your family decides to build sand castles instead of snowmen this holiday season, be sure to share your vacation photos with VegasDaze, the authority on all things Vegas and Maui vacations. Follow us on Twitter for more fun facts, travel advice and recommendations for your Maui vacation.

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