Shaka Jesus or Finding the Christmas Spirit in Hawaii

As someone who has lived the entirety of my life between 39.4 and 47.6 degrees latitude, I have forever associated the holidays with wearing an itchy sweater and scraping ice off my car. Short days and plunging temperatures signal to my brain: ‘Winter is coming!!! Start eating high calorie food and don’t leave the house unless absolutely necessary!!!’ with a certainty that one just doesn’t get from looking at a calendar.

Against my intuition, It turns out that December still has a 25th day even when I’m at the 21st parallel and sweating through my shorts.

Lately, Garrison and I have been tucked away in a very out of the way corner of Kauai at Koke’e State Park. It’s a good 45 minute drive up a steep and curvy road 17 miles from the nearest town: Waimea (population 1,787)

In an attempt to convince ourselves that it is indeed Christmas time, we set out to enjoy the 53rd Annual Waimea Christmas Twilight Parade last weekend. Also, there was supposed to be free food — did I mention that?

Something very weird and special happens when the Christmas Spirit collides with Aloha Sprit. You get a man dressed up as Jesus rolling by on an elaborately decorated church-sponsored float working the crowd by tossing out candy with one hand and giving the shaka* with the another. (This was proceeded by the local high school marching band bleating out Christmas tunes and followed by five county employees wearing Santa hats.)

Awesome. Christmas Sprit found!

We miss our family and friends stateside. We are sending love, aloha, and sunshine your way!

Wishing you a very Aloha Christmas!

Wishing you a very Aloha Christmas!

We didn't get a picture of shaka Jesus, but we did get a picture of this awesome truck with christmas lights all over it driving by.

We didn’t get a picture of shaka Jesus, but we did get a picture of this awesome truck with christmas lights all over it driving by.

*The shaka is a Hawaiian symbol of approval, friendship, and solidarity.  You may remember the one time the president did it. 

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