It is December 12 and I started humming the 12 days of Christmas song (English version about the partridge in a a pear tree)– till the lyrics of the Hawaiian version came to mind.
“12 Days of Christmas Hawaiian Style” was apparently written in 15 minutes as three friends ate Chinese food in the living room of a Diamond Head (Oahu) home. So reported the Honolulu Star Bulletin in December, 1995.
The song was copyrighted in 1959 by Eaton "Bob" Magoon Jr.'s Hawaiian Recording and Publishing Co. Listed as its authors were composer/real estate developer Magoon, actor/singer Ed Kenney, and Gordon Phelps, then Magoon's assistant. (Hawaiian Recording and Publishing Co. is no longer in business, and neither is the Honolulu Star Bulletin, which went out of business recently in June, 2010).
The Hawaiian version starts off:
“Numbah One day of Christmas, my tutu give to me One mynah bird in one papaya tree.” (Tutu is grandmother in Hawaiian)
The hilarious song goes on to list:
Three dried squid (yum)
Four flower lei
Five big fat pigs (pua’a, the Hawaiian pig)
Six hula lessons
Seven shrimps a-swimming
Nine pounds of poi (that’s a lot of poi!)
Ten cans of beer (more politically correct versions now say “soda”)
You can see how times have changed since 1959 (Hawaii’s statehood year) since it’s not politically correct to mention beer with young families anymore (even in Hawaii), nor Christian missionaries who first arrived in Hawaii in 1820. And color televisions were only starting to pop up in people’s homes back then.
Listen online to various different versions of this song, sung in Pidgin English (but I translated it for you readers, as I am fluent in Pidgin, having grown up on the Big Island).
Happy 12 days of Christmas!
Mele Kalikimaka (Merry Christmas in Hawaiian) a bit early too.