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The Tradition of the Hula in Hawaii

By March 25, 2019About Hawaii, Culture, Dance, History, Hula

The Hula, a special dance performed in Hawaii for many centuries, has a long history and a special tie to the Hawaiian culture and people. While most people have seen a glimpse of the Hula dance, fewer people understand its cultural ties, history, and why we still celebrate Hawaiian heritage with this special dance even today. When planning your Hawaiian vacation and booking an extensive stay in one of our Kolea beachfront rental condos or villas, this special dance may be one of the things you will want to plan on seeing before you leave. Below, we explain what the hula is, its interesting history, and how you can plan to see it the next time you are in Hawaii.

What is the Hula Dance?

Many would argue that hula is actually more than a dance; it’s a representation of life itself. What does this mean? To Hawaiians, the dance represents life, culture, history, and tradition, everything that comprises who they are as a people. The dance itself can be broken down into two categories: Hula Auana and Hula Kahiko. Both of these involve rhythms, beats, chants, and instruments that are tied to ancient tradition, but Hula Auana is considered more modern. The dance itself usually begins barefoot and involves standing about shoulder’s width apart with bent knees. Taking a few steps to the left and right, the dancer sways her hips with the arm extended in the direction she is stepping. The other arm is bent, and the arms switch positions whenever they go in a new direction. Your facial expressions while dancing help to tell the story and history of Hawaii while you are dancing. The whole dance is very graceful and relaxed, making it a hallmark of memorable Hawaiian culture that has permeated the hearts and minds of people across the world.

How the Hula Originated

The ancient Hawaiians never had a written language, so they needed another way of preserving their language, history, religion, and family lines. Every part of the dance tells part of a story that helped the dancers and the viewers remember their heritage and connect with each other and their land. It has been a part of Hawaiian culture for centuries, and while the Hawaiian language can now be written using Latin alphabet characters, hula still serves as a form of communication that preserves the history and culture of the ancients to present day.

The Time Hula Was Banned

In the mid-1800s, after Hawaii was discovered by Westerners, Protestant missionaries engendered an anti-hula sentiment on the grounds that it was viewed too sexual and a-moral. While there was a law in place to ban the practice of hula, however, the law was highly ignored and people continued to practice it, especially in rural regions. The law was formally repealed in the 1870s, and hula has remained alive and strong as ever.

Seeing the Hula On Your Hawaiian Vacation

Not every dance you see in Hawaii is hula, but hula can be seen almost anywhere. It is part of almost any luau you attend, and by simply asking the local vendors about where you can see the dance, you too can experience the majesty of this traditional dance on your next vacation. Call us today to reserve a private condo in Kolea and book the vacation of lifetime.