King David Kalākaua
The Merrie Monarch Festival is dedicated to the memory of King David Kalākaua, known as the Merrie Monarch. King Kalākaua came to the throne of the Hawaiian Kingdom in 1874 and reigned until his death in 1891. He was a patron of the arts, especially music and dance.
Kalākaua restored Hawaiian cultural traditions that had been suppressed for many years under missionary teachings. He advocated a renewed sense of pride in such things as Hawaiian mythology, medicine, chant, and hula.
Ancient Hawaiians had no written language, but chant and hula served to record such things as genealogy, mythology, history, and religion. Hula, the dance of Hawaiian people, was one means by which culture was expressed and passed down through generations.