The Hula
the art and soul of Hawai`i

The Hula is something that is always associated with aloha shirts, Luaus and the island of Hawai`I. But the Hula hasn?t always been that way.
You would have had to look hard to find a girl in a grass skirt during the early days of the hula, which is much more than a dance. Although pleasant to the eye, the spectator will not immediately understand the deep significance of every move. Hula is history told in an entertaining manner and evolved from a strict form of dance which was only allowed to be performed by men. Times changed and once women were allowed to join the hula halau, the teachers (kumu hula) taught them the strict rules and the most gracious and beautiful of women were allowed to perform in front of large audiences at religious gatherings.
With a re-emerging Hawaiian pride and sense of culture, this fascinating dance is more alive than ever. Banned by the missionaries because of its ?sexual? movements, hula was performed in secret for a long time but is now blossoming with competitions like the Merry Monarch Festival in Hilo on the Big island, where hila halaus from all islands meet to compete in group and individual dances.
The chants which accompanied most of the dance are also having a comeback, with the male singers performing their powerful lyrics while beating a steady rhythm on the pahu, a hollow drum made from the coconut or the breadfruit tree. While the Kodak Hula show is probably the most well known hula show in the world, it is by no means authentic and anyone should be encouraged to visit public exhibits of hula and chanting to learn about the unique Hawaiian culture.
 
 

Paradise Cove: A night of culture
by Kristen Inlow

The one night that I?ll always remember as a true Hawaiian experience is the night that my family and I went to Paradise Cove for a Luau. This was number two on my top ten list of things I wanted to do while I was there, second only to seeing the North Shore.
 The night began with a drink and pictures of us with a few of the performers. We were shown our seats that were right in front of the stage. We were given time to visit the booths and gift shop located behind the tables and bar. We stopped at booths where we were shown several Hawaiian tricks of the trade. We made our own lei and also an ankle lei. If a woman wears her lei on her right ankle, it means that she is unattached. If it is worn on her left ankle, she is taken. Other booths showed people how to carve wood. One even had parrots that you could have your picture taken with. A canoe ride in the cove just off the beach was another plus at Paradise Cove. The beginning of the show started just after an amazing sunset. A conch shell announced each event. The first event was a demonstration to the audience how the native Hawaiians wore their clothing. We were then showed how the native fisherman cast his net and caught his living. We were then moved to a small arena where the traditional luau was explained while a pig was roasted in the ground in front of us. After the interesting event, dinner was served with a delicious result, except the poi. Next was the hula show. This lasted an hour and a half and was amazing. There was singing, audience participation and fire twirling. I would have to say that the hula show can only be experienced, not told about. The whole night was definitely one to remember for a lifetime.