by James Temple
Painting - Painting
"Mele Kalikimaka" is the English phrase "Merry Christmas" as pronounced in Hawaiian. The missionaries reduced the Hawaiian language to written form, enabling the Hawaiian people to read and write in their own language. Many words for which there were no clear Hawaiian language equivalents were translated phonetically.
The words "Mele Kalikimaka" are a phonetic translation. When the missionaries and other Westerners first brought the custom of Christmas to the Hawaiian Islands, the Hawaiians had difficulty pronouncing Merry Christmas and turned it into words that rolled more easily off their tongues.
This was one of nine 4'x8' paintings by Eugene Francis Savage (1883-1978) called "Island Feast". The paintings were commissioned by the Matson Shipping line in 1948. This image was restored to its original state by James Temple from an old lithographed menu cover used in the dining room of the refurbished Matson flagship "Lurline".
November 19th, 2018
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