Asian American Pacific Islander Heritage Month
(AAPI) began as a 10 day celebration in 1977 to
recognize the history and accomplishments of
AAPI communities in the United States, and in
1992, the month-long celebration became law.
AAPI encompasses a population of
approximately 23 million Americans from
approximately 50 ethnic groups with roots in
more than 40 countries. These countries span
from norther Mongolia to the most southern
Polynesian Islands. In recent years, AAPI has
been expanded to APIDA Asian Pacific Islander
Desi American, which includes South Asian
(Desi) Asian Americans (including countries like
India, Pakistan & Bangladesh).
The month of May was chosen to honor AAPI Heritage in order to commemorate: · May 7, 1843 is the date the first Japanese immigrant was granted US Citizenship · May 10, 1869 is the anniversary of the completion of the Transcontinental Railroad, which was primarily built by Chinese immigrants.
The first AAPI settlement in the US was recorded in 1765. Filipino seamen, who were slaves on Spanish vessels, abandoned ship and set-up communities in the bayous of Louisiana. They battled along with the US in the War of 1812. During the Gold Rush in the 1850’s, Asian immigrants served as miners, industrial workers, and as laborers for the Transcontinental Railroad in the west.
According to the 2020 US census, AAPI who identified as Asian American or Pacific Islander alone comprise approximately 6.2% of the US population or 1,709,886. Locally, according to the US Census in 2021, the AAPI population in Loveland constitutes more than 840 or 1.1% of the total population. The AAPI community is growing faster than any other racial population in the US. The AAPI community has risen above cultural obstacles, language barriers, discrimination, and violence. Let’s reject hate based on race or ethnicity and honor the contributions and achievements of the AAPI community.
In early times, Hawaiian men and women were not allowed to eat together due to religious practices, until 1819 when King Kamehameha II changed that with the Luau. Luaus are used to commemorate accomplishments and milestones such as a birthday, a battle win, the initial launch of a canoe, a wedding, or graduation. A conch shell is used to announce the start of the luau and is accompanied by chanting. Old hula or hula Kahiko, includes chanting (oli in Hawaiian), singing, and storytelling, musical devices such as shakers made of gourds, bamboo, shark leather and lava stone; and movements that keep stories of Hawaiian culture alive. Hula Kahiko is a demonstration of the spirit of aloha – an ethical code focusing on unconditional love and interdependent relationships – tranquility, gentleness, humanity, empathy, and leadership to later generations.
Hula Dancing History
Old hula or hula Kahiko, as it’s said in Hawaiian, existed before 1893 as a religious tradition. In 1830 hula dancing was prohibited by Queen Ka`ahumanu as she found it distasteful and evil. King Kalakaua, known as the Merrie Monarch, brought back hula in 1874. Hula Kahiko included chanting (oli in Hawaiian); singing; storytelling; use of musical devices like shakers made of natural materials such as gourds, bamboo, shark leather, and stone of lava; and movements that kept stories of Hawaiian culture alive. Females wore pāʻū skirts (made of kapas or bark cloth of mulberry leaves) while men wore loincloths. Both females and males wore flower leis, bracelets, anklets, and necklaces. After the dance, leis were placed on the shrine to honor a goddess. Leis represented wealth, royalty, location, and religion, and were used to decorate oneself. They were made of flowers, shells, feathers, nuts, leaves, and animal bones and teeth. Kahiko was observed as spiritual, and dancers vigorously practiced. Errors were taken as bad omens. More importantly, Hula Kahiko instructs us on the spirit of aloha – an ethical code focusing on unconditional love and interdependent relationships – tranquility, gentleness, humanity, empathy, and leadership to later generations.
Koi fish are rich with symbolic significance. They’re known as symbols of strength, perseverance, love, bravery, and dedication. The Yin Yang symbol is a representation of two koi fish. Koi fish are a type of carp, which are common throughout the world; however, their coloring and lineage are what makes them so special. Koi fish breeding is taken very seriously and is akin to prized dog breeds.
Golden week, Japanese Ōgon Shūkan is celebrated from April 29th to May 5th, encompasing four holidays: Shōwa Day (April 29), Constitution Day (May 3), Greenery Day (May 4), and Children's Day (May 5).