Page 14 - 150th King Kamehameha Day Celebration - Kauai
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LPā‘ū on parade day
ong before cars, buses troduced,” he adds. “Women He explains that equestrian and trains, Native Ha- galloping on horseback in abilities are paramount and, waiian women would their pāʻū, finery, ribbon and up until the ’70s, pā‘ū riders
opt for horseback as their fa- lei were outlawed. A few ex- were selected through a tryout
vored mode of transportation. Since there’s no way to roll up the windows while dashing in the wind, they had to get in- ventive.
“In order to protect their formal wear when traveling by horseback to events, the pāʻū holo lio or kīhei holo lio was conceived,” explains Kimo Alama Keaulana, who chairs the Kamehameha Day Parade pā‘ū wrapping. “A kīpola, or poncho-like top, was creat- ed to protect the bodices and blouses. Women rode astride on western-style saddles as opposed to side saddles and women often galloped. As they galloped, the beauty of their pāʻū would fly in the wind. Ribbons would be secured to the kīpola and added to hats to create a festive streaming effect.
“When the automobile was introduced, new laws were in-
hibitions were held but people had missed these spectacles in the streets. Pāʻū riders be- came far and few between. Pāʻū riders made their maiden parade experience in the 1907 Washington Day Parade. Their nostalgic appearance delight- ed parade audiences but their galloping was missed. People loved the pāʻū riders and their appearance has been a ‘must’ in every Hawaiian parade ever since.”
While the graceful pā‘ū riders make it look so easy as they strut through downtown Honolulu, there’s a lot (to put it lightly) that goes into prep- ping for this cultural event, whether that be time or money. It’s a fact that Keaulana, whose father and aunt rode in King Kamehameha Day Parades in the ’60s and who was taught how to wrap a pā‘ū in his mid- teens, knows well.
process based on their skill level. During the event, eight princesses represent the major Hawaiian Islands and female attendant riders, and male es- cort riders are assigned to var- ious units.
“Once a unit is as- sembled, there are prac- tices on horseback that needs to be arranged,” he shares. “Riders will need to have their indi- vidual horses trailered to practices in many cases. Members of each unit bring their experiences, resources, and manpower together to make lei for themselves and horses. It takes about a week to pre- pare these massive horse lei. In addition, places to make them and adequate refrigeration is needed.
Beginning at the first hint of daylight on parade day, the

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