Aside from Aloha, palm trees and the pacific, one of the first things that come to mind when you think of Hawaii, is the hula dance. We’ve all seen images of the svelte beauties in their grass skirts and headdresses performing the hula, but here in Hawaii, it is much more than a dance. With roots dating back to Hawaii’s original settlers, the hula is history in motion.
The hula dance was traditionally accompanied by a mele (song) or chant known as an oli, and was originally performed in honor of the volcano goddess Pele. It is said that Pele’s sister Laka performed the first hula dance at her sister’s urging making Laka the keeper or goddess of the hula. Prayers were chanted as the hula was performed and once finished; the dancers would place their leis upon the altar as an offering.
Because the early settlers in Hawaii had no way to record their history, chants would often tell the tales of chiefs, brave warriors and significant family events. These chants were memorized and passed down through generations as a means to share history, and the movements in the hula were a physical expression of the words contained in the mele.
To this day, Hawaiians are very much in tune with the natural elements but this connection to nature was even more prevalent amongst the early Polynesian settlers. This is evident in the fluid movements of the hula dance as they sometimes represent the wind or the ocean, with each movement slowly and seamlessly moving in to the next.
The hula dance went underground once the protestant missionaries arrived in the early 1800’s. They found the movements of the hula suggestive and deemed the dance impure. The newly converted royalty was encouraged to ban the hula and if it weren’t for the devotion of those who practiced or taught the hula in private, this traditional art could well have been lost altogether. King Kamehameha eventually set the stage for the dance’s return to the public, but it was King Kalakaua who reintroduced it with vigor. So devoted to the cultivation and preservation of Hawaii’s unique arts, language and traditions, King Kakakaua once said “Hula is the language of the heart, therefore the heartbeat of the Hawaiian people”, and he was right. It is in his honor that Hawaii celebrates the Merrie Monarch Festival each year.
Visitors to Hawaii can take hula lessons or see traditional hula dancers performing the art at various venues throughout the island chain. Our concierge may not be able to teach you to hula, but we’d be more than happy to help you find someone who can! Have a Happy Aloha Friday all!
We had a wonderful time at Sail Away and I recommended Hawaii Hideaway to dozens of people. You were a delight to work with and I will definitely use you again the next time we rent a home in the islands.
Like a Dream
Bliss doesn’t even describe our experience. It was almost like a dream. We are ready to do this again with Hawaii Hideaways – you guys are the best. Everything was perfect!!!
Outstanding Experience From Beginning to End
It was in an outstanding experience from beginning to end, I would work with Hawaii hideaways again in the future unquestionably. Sunny Madeiros was terrific with her recommendations of everything from leisure activities to restaurants and even equipment rentals.
Coral Gables, FL
Perfect Combination of Elegance and Comfort
First time to Maui (and Hawaii). This is a spectacular setting and the home is a perfect combination of elegance and comfort. I could stay on the lanai all day long and be happy. Of course there’s a ton of fun activities, but it was great to have Gull Cottage as our base to come back to!
Arlington Heights, IL
You’re Going to Want to Stay
Our family spent a splendid week in Kauai in early 2017, basing ourselves out of the Touching Green house. It’s in a great location, has everything you need, and is just lovely. The pictures don’t do it justice. You’re going to want to stay!
We had a wonderful time in Kauai! We remained in awe at the unimaginable beauty, both of the rental home, as well as Kauai itself. It will be a treasured memory for life. I hope we can come back and make more memories.