Aeryis's family celebrated her first birthday in the traditional Marshallese style. A child's first birthday is very important in Pacific Island cultures because of historically high infant mortality rates. Extended family, friends, and sometimes entire communities are invited to celebrate. For Aeryis's party, family and friends traveled from as far as California, Hawaii, and other Pacific Islands. Even some of the traditional foods were flown in from Hawaii.
Nearly three hundred people feasted, socialized, and danced for Aeryis's first birthday. Her family shared treats and small gifts from Hawaii with each guest. Several family groups wore traditional clothing and performed dances to entertain the guests. Several youngers kids even performed a choreographed dance to the song "Hawaiian Rollercoaster Ride" from the movie Lilo and Stitch. The older kids joined the dancing during "The Git Up" by Blanco Brown.
Check out the photos and video clips below to get a glimpse of Aeryis's amazing first birthday party!