Spectators and parade participants share shouts, shakas and hand shakes in the Independence Day Parade in Kailua, Hawaii. So many people take part in the parade that it’s hard to believe there is anyone left to watch, and yet spectators line streets for the full length of the route.
Those on the sidelines shout encouragement to paraders, often calling them by name. Dignitaries walk over to the sidelines to shake hands with friends or relatives. Young children wave and give high-fives to those passing by. It’s not uncommon for bicyclists to ride along side the parade route or for young people on skateboards to ride up to a float in greeting. The entire approach is one of shared celebration, rather than a sterile performance. Even the military gets in the act. There are many parade entries with military connections: branches of the military, marching bands, honored veterans, and service organizations. Rather than a salute, the greeting from most is a shaka wave.
The familial nature of the parade was brought to my attention in a comment to an earlier blog post by Lin, who said “the ‘aloha’ spirit found in our hometown celebrations on the street just aren’t the same (as the mainland). Watching your brother, sister, husband, wife, children… go marching, singing, dancing, or playing music is truly an emotional endeavor.” I have to agree. But it’s also great fun if you don’t know anyone.
My three favorite parade moments from today are (1) the young girl and old vet giving one another a high-five, (2) a horseback rider who stopped so three young girls could give the horse an icee pop, and (3) the three year old girl taking photos on a phone of parade participants about her age. I don’t know any of those people, except as fond memories that bring a smile.