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Celebrating the Mu‘u

LIHU‘E — There are only a few days remaining in January celebrating the month as Mu‘umu‘u Month.

On Friday, Mayor Derek S.K. Kawakami relaxed the county’s dress code to allow county workers to dress in muumuu when reporting to work, similar to the heyday of the Aloha Fridays that allow individuals to garb in the more casual alohawear (and, usually an accompanying lei).

“Gotta give prompts to Shannon Hiramoto,” said Kawakami, who appeared with a vintage aloha shirt and accompanying ‘ukulele. “She started this January being Mu‘umu‘u Month movement.”

Teresa Nero of the Agency on Elderly Affairs said being able to wear muumuu on Friday reminded her of the days she attended Catholic School with Fridays being the only day they were allowed to wear muumuu and alohawear instead of their school uniform.

Hiramoto, who founded the movement fueled largely by social media nine years ago, was celebrating with her daughter, Charli on Thursday afternoon at The Fresh Shave in the Old Koloa Town courtyard.

“The governor even issued a proclamation celebrating January as Mu‘umu‘u Month,” Hiramoto said. “I did attend the Daughters of Hawai‘i fundraiser on O‘ahu. Where did the time go to? The month is almost over.”

Hiramoto said she had scheduled a line dancing in muumuu at the Koloa Dance Studio on Friday night. Jamilee Jimenez of the Liliuokalani Trust had coordinated a rum tour in muumuu that was sold out for its Sunday outing at the Koloa Rum Tasting Room at Kilohana.

“A lot of the events scheduled are for adults,” said Priscilla Soule of The Fresh Shave, who became acquainted with Hiramoto during the time she ran The Fresh Shave food truck at the Lawai 3540 Warehouse. “Today is a nice day for the kids to just come and enjoy shave ice with their parents. I just invited a bunch of people to do that here in the Old Koloa Town courtyard.”

Hiramoto said about the few remaining events before January ends is the Hang Out at the Meadow on Sunday when people garbed in mu‘umu‘u gather and just talk story at the Kanaloahulululu Meadow in Koke‘e.

“Last year, we had quite a few ladies show up,” Hiramoto said. “Next year is the 10th year since we started the January is Mu‘umu‘u Month so we’re looking to plan something bigger.”

The word “mu‘umu‘u” means “cut off” in Hawaiian, according to online sources.

Originally, the mu‘umu‘u was a shorter, informal version of the more formal holoku, the original name for the Mother Hubbard dress that was introduced to the island women by Protestant missionaries in the 1820s. The holoku featured long sleeves and a floor-length unfitted dress falling from a high-necked yoke.

As the holoku became more elaborate, the muumuu, a shortened version of the holoku, became popular.
Source: The Garden Island

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