Culture in Hawaii

Explore the fascinating culture of Hawaii

Most of the traditional Hawaiian culture stems back to the arrival of the first Polynesian settlers. A mixture between the knowledge and religious beliefs that were carried with them and the invention of new techniques and art forms needed to survive in the new surroundings, Hawaiian culture is quite diverse and intriguing. Much of the creative aspects of this culture can be viewed as an art form as they are incredibly beautiful.

Perhaps the best known part of Hawaiian culture is the hula. The hula was originally a dance that was practiced in celebration to the gods and rulers of ancient Hawaii. Though the worship of the various gods slowly disappeared, this enterprising dance form did not. The male hula is somewhat more aggressive and abrupt that the sensual female hula. In fact, there are many different forms of the hula and it can be used to convey religious or comical insights, or it can be sensual or teasing. Various forms of it are still practiced today.

Hulu is the traditional feather-work of the Hawaiian people. Though it became virtually extinct at one time, it has now been revived. In hulu, the many colored feathers of local birds are wound and bound together to create beautiful items such as cloaks, kahili, lei and even idols.

The making of kapa kuiki is a somewhat more modern craft. These creative quilts are the culmination of the traditional art of kapa and the patch-work quilt making techniques introduced by early missionaries. The quilts are exquisite and take hours to make, but leave behind a wonderful legacy of talent.

Lomilomi is the Hawaiian art of massage. Often performed in conjunction with herbal treatments and prayer, it relaxes the body and mind after a busy day. Often used in conjuction with this is the knowledge of the Laau Lapaau - the healing art of the Hawaiians which makes use of plants and herbs found on the islands.

The Hawaiian language or Ka 'Olelo is a wonderfully lyrical language. No doubt, Hawaiians spoke to each other in this tongue while building the Ka Pa Pohaku which are un-cemented rock walls which can still be found all over the islands. Many of them can be found at the sights of ancient temples and fishponds.

Another two very Hawaiian skills are that of Ulana and Na Waa. Ulana is the craft of weaving which played a very important role in ancient life. Na Waa is the skill of canoe-making and it formed an integral part of ancient life. While Polynesian travelers brought their watercraft-making knowledge with them, the original design has undergone several changes which has resulted in a canoe that is uniquely Hawaiian.

There are several other aspects of Hawaiian culture which have been left out here. However the only way to truly enjoy a culture is to experience it for yourself so we encourage you to book your tickets and visit the extraordinary islands of Hawaii.


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