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These photos show the beautiful tradition of “Aloha Week Festival” in Hawaii in the 1970s

Neil Patrick

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Hawaii is the island that instantly reminds you of exotic beauty, ancient customs and refreshing Piña colada, right?  American photographer of National Geographic, Charles O’Rear captured the beauty of Hawaii in 1973 and documented the everyday life, the island’s cultural customs and heritage such as Aloha Week.

The Aloha Festivals are an annual series of free cultural celebrations observed in the state of Hawaii in the United States. It is the only statewide cultural festival in the nation. It features concerts,parades, street parties called ho‘olaule‘a as well as various other special events planned for resident and tourist families. The festivals used to be multi-island, but it has since been scaled down to just the island of Oahu.

 

A tour of the island, October 1973

A tour of the island, October 1973

 

Aloha Airlines in one of the two major airlines connecting the islands, October 1973

Aloha Airlines,October 1973

In the spirit of preserving the Hawaiian culture and heritage, the Aloha Festivals were established in 1946 as Aloha Week by former members of the local Junior Chamber of Commerce. The former manager of the festivals, Goriann Akau, has said, “In 1946, after the war, Hawaiians needed an identity. We were lost and needed to regroup. When we started to celebrate our culture, we began to feel proud. We have a wonderful culture that had been buried for a number of years. This brought it out again. Self-esteem is more important than making a lot of money.”[1] Aloha Festivals now consists of 4 festivals events during the month of September and highlights are the presentation of the Royal Court, a block party with vendors and performers in the heart of Waikiki, and the Floral Parade which marches from Ala Moana Boulevard down through Kalakaua Avenue. Approximately 30,000 people volunteer to plan, organize, and provide labor for the Aloha Festivals each year. Their efforts entertain over 1,000,000 people from throughout the state and visitors from all over the world.

Aloha Day parade during annual Aloha Week festivities, October 1973 1

Aloha Day parade during annual Aloha Week festivities, October 1973

Aloha Day parade during annual Aloha Week festivities, October 1973

Aloha Day parade during annual Aloha Week festivities, October 1973

Aloha Day parade, one of many festivities during annual Aloha Week, October 1973

Aloha Day parade, one of many festivities during annual Aloha Week, October 1973

 

Ancient statues in the city of refuge national historic park near Honaunau on the western side of the island, November 1973

Ancient statues/ November 1973

This are Ancient statues in the city of refuge national historic park near Honaunau on the western side of the island.

 

At Hawaiian Greenhouse, Inc, near Pahoa, anthuriums grow under a sun screen. This area is entirely agricultural

Worker at the Hawaiian Greenhouse, November 1973

At Hawaiian Greenhouse, Inc, near Pahoa, anthuriums grow under a sun screen. This area is entirely agricultural

Costumed for Aloha Day parade, one of many festivities during annual Aloha Week, October 1973

Costumed for Aloha Day parade, one of many festivities during annual Aloha Week, October 1973

Customers looking over the day's assortment at the Hilo fish auction, a daily event, November 1973

Customers looking over the day’s assortment at the Hilo fish auction, a daily event, November 1973

Dressed for Aloha Day parade during annual Aloha Week festivities, October 1973

Dressed for Aloha Day parade during annual Aloha Week festivities, October 1973

Famous Black Sand Beach at Kaimu, created by lava runoff, is a favorite tourist stop, November 1973

The Black Sand Beach at Kaimu, November 1973

The famous Black Sand Beach at Kaimu,  is created by lava runoff and a favorite tourist stop.

 

10,000 acres of the island of Hawaii is devoted to growing macadamia nuts, and production is increasing

Workers on Macadamia Fields, November 1973

10,000 acres of the island of Hawaii is devoted to growing macadamia nuts, and production is increasing.

Gift packs ready for shipment from Honolulu International Airport, October 1973

Gift packs ready for shipment from Honolulu International Airport, October 1973

Hawaiian cowboys customarily wear flowers on their hats, October 1973

Hawaiian cowboys customarily wear flowers on their hats, October 1973

 

Hawaiians ready to demonstrate hula dance to Waikiki Beach tourists, October 1973 1

Hawaiians ready to demonstrate hula dance to Waikiki Beach tourists, October 1973 1

Hawaiians ready to demonstrate hula dance to Waikiki Beach tourists, October 1973

Hawaiians ready to demonstrate hula dance to Waikiki Beach tourists, October 1973

Hawaii-kai, built on a swamp and a hillside, is a fast growing area east of downtown Honolulu, October 1973

Hawaii-kai worker October 1973

Hawaii-kai, built on a swamp and a hillside, is a fast growing area east of downtown Honolulu. Scarcity of land and skyrocketing costs are favoring construction of town houses and high-rise apartments over the once dominant single-family units.

 

Honolulu International Airport handles almost all of the island's visitors. Some 2.7 million are anticipated in 1973, October 1973

Honolulu International Airport , October 1973

Honolulu International Airport handles almost all of the island’s visitors. Some 2.7 million are anticipated in 1973.

 

Honolulu International Airport handles almost all of the island's visitors. Some 2.7 million are anticipated in 1973. Tour group greeter has welcoming leis ready, October 1973

Tour group greeter has welcoming leis ready, October 1973

Makakilo is built on a dry, rock slope. Environmentalists hailed its designation for urban development, made ten years ago because it was clearly not suitable to agriculture

Makakilo , October 1973

Makakilo is built on a dry, rock slope. Environmentalists hailed its designation for urban development, made ten years ago because it was clearly not suitable to agriculture.

 

 

Paradise Park, a commercial enterprise designed to display some of the natural beauty of the island, is in a conservation district which is primarily forest and water reserve land

Flamingo., October 1973

Paradise Park, a commercial enterprise designed to display some of the natural beauty of the island, is in a conservation district which is primarily forest and water reserve land.The State Department of Land and Natural Resources controls land use in “conservation” zones.

 

Store in Pukoo area, October 1973

Store in Pukoo area, October 1973

 

Surfer at Waikiki Beach, October 1973

Surfer at Waikiki Beach, October 1973

 

Tourists at a hula dance demonstration. Those who do the dance are rewarded with leis

Tourists at a hula dance demonstration,, October 1973

The tourists who do the hula dance are  rewarded with leis.

 

 

Tourists just off buses crowd premises outside waterfront hotel at Lahina. A few years ago this area was virtually empty,

 

 

Waikiki Beach is the most popular tourist spot on the island there are 26,000 hotel rooms on Oahu. Most of them are in the Waikiki area

Waikiki Beach, October 1973

Waikiki Beach is the most popular tourist spot on the island there are 26,000 hotel rooms on Oahu. Most of them are in the Waikiki area.

 

With pineapple fields as his arena, Henri Aki takes his horse for a late afternoon training session near Lanai City. Pineapple growing takes up 16,000 acres of the island's territory

Henri Aki at pineapple fields, October 1973

With pineapple fields as his arena, Henri Aki takes his horse for a late afternoon training session near Lanai City. Pineapple growing takes up 16,000 acres of the island’s territory.

 

Young sugarcane field worker. His hat symbolizes effects of tourism and affluence

Young sugarcane field worker, October 1973

Young sugarcane field worker. His hat symbolizes effects of tourism and affluence.

Tourist after hula dance competition , October 1973

Tourist after hula dance competition , October 1973

This tourists has acquitted herself well at a hula dance demonstration. The leis are her rewards.

Hawaiian rests after demonstrating hula dance to appreciative Waikiki Beach tourists, October 1973

Hawaiian rests after demonstrating hula dance to appreciative Waikiki Beach tourists, October 1973

 

Japanese tourists stand on rocks to watch the Hawaiian fishermen, October 1973

Japanese tourists stand on rocks to watch the Hawaiian fishermen, October 1973

 

Tourists at a hula dance demonstration, October 1973

Tourists at a hula dance demonstration, October 1973

All photos By: The U.S. National Archives