The Grand Tradition of Hula Kahiko in Hawaii

by | Aug 28, 2017 | Travel and Tourism

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Every culture has musical traditions of which it can be proud. For ancient societies, dance, music, and the type of ritualistic fever and fervor that they kicked up were a good way of keeping communities together and communing with something greater. The great Enlightenment philosopher Immanuel Kant described the way in which we interact with or evaluate aesthetic beauty as connecting with the “sublime,” which is certainly the word to describe many such ritualistic dances, including those of the Hawaiian Islands.

For at least hundreds of years, Hula Kahiko has served as one of the great cultural traditions of Hawaii. While hula dances are known the world over as characteristic of the island, these are among those most linked to its pre-colonization past. For a taste of the true hula experience and, indeed, of the true Hawaii, you’ll want to visit for the best Hula Kahiko in Hawaii.

Traditional Hula

The term Hula Kahiko is most commonly used to describe hula dances that were composed prior to 1894 and the greater effects of colonization. As such, this type of hula is generally considered to be closer to the older, more traditional and spiritualized forms of hula dance that took place in centuries past. Hula dances were, in ages prior, used to commemorate all manner of different religious rituals and feature historical instruments, chants, and moves. Female performers traditionally wore a pāʻū, or skirt, while male performers wore a malo (loincloth) along with necklaces.

Hula Today

Today, hula is a wide and varied art form. There are places that still practice and keep alive the traditional forms of hula in all its splendor. There are others that work to update those dances to keep them in step with the modern world. And there are still other places that meet them in between.

For all of that, however, Hula Kahiko in its original form is truly unique and certainly a sight to see on your trip to Hawaii.