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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Sunday, November 17, 2002

Palace crowd pays tribute to Kalakaua

After yesterday's ceremony marking the king's 166th birthday, the Royal Guards marched toward their posts at 'Iolani Palace's gates.

Cory Lum • The Honolulu Advertiser

By Will Hoover
Advertiser Staff Writer

A crowd of more than 200 attended the 166th birthday ceremonies honoring King Kalakaua at midday yesterday on the lawn at 'Iolani Palace.

The occasion was marked by pomp and pageantry. Descendants of royalty were in attendance, and the palace was decked out in red, white and blue flags and bunting reminiscent of how the royal residence was decorated for the jubilee celebration on Kalakaua's 50th birthday on Nov. 16, 1886.

The master of ceremonies yesterday was University of Hawai'i professor Niklaus Schweizer, an authority on Hawaiian culture, who said the weather — sunshine mixed with light rain— was the perfect complement for a day honoring the man who was known as the Merrie Monarch.

"Rain is always a blessing in the Hawaiian culture," said Schweizer.

"So, this is the perfect day — a little rain, but sunshine when it counts."

Backed by the music of the Royal Hawaiian Band, directed by Aaron Mahi, Schweizer gave a brief talk outlining some of the history surrounding the annual palace event.

"The Royal Guards were disbanded on Jan. 18, 1893, one day after the overthrow of Queen Lili'uokalani," he told the audience.

"However, on Nov. 16, 1963, they were revived by Col. Walter Judd of the Hawai'i Air National Guard. Since 1963, the governor has resumed the traditional annual inspection on King Kalakaua's birthday.

"Today, therefore, marks the 39th anniversary of the reinstatement of the Royal Guards.

As the Royal Hawaiian Band played the "King's March," written by Kalakaua himself, the Royal Guards marched from the barracks on the palace grounds to the front steps of the palace for the ceremonial inspection conducted by royal descendant David Klaren Laamea Kaumualii Kawananakoa along with Col. Stan Osserman of the Hawai'i Air National Guard.

On completion of the review, the Royal Guards, all members of the Air National Guard and all of Hawaiian ancestry, were posted at the four gates of the palace grounds and remained there until 3:30 p.m.

A more solemn ceremony took place at 9:15 yesterday morning in the chapel at Mauna 'Ala, the Royal Mausoleum on Nu'uanu Avenue. The annual event is open to the public, but most of the three dozen people at the gathering were members of Hawai'i's four oldest 'ahahui, or cultural associations.

After the chapel service, which included chants and musical tributes, the small congregation filed into the underground Kalakaua Crypt adjacent to the chapel to place flowers at the burial place of the king.

"This is a celebration of his life," said Bill Maioho, mausoleum curator, who is the sixth in the family line to hold the position. "In Hawaiian style, death is not part of the celebration. We value his birth and the time he was alive."