Hawaiian Traditions; Na Hula & Na Lei

Hawaiian Traditions; Na Hula & Na Lei

The cultural and historical significance of the hula and the lei is often unknown or lost by many visitors who come to the Islands. Beyond the airport lei greeting and the hula performances during dinner, these arts forms preserve and promote intrinsic parts of Hawaiian culture and history. There are various legends that surround the origins of hula, each centered around the goddesses of Hawai‘i. The dance is used to share and express stories of any subject; of places, of people, and of beliefs. The lei, popularized by tourism in the 19th and 20th centuries, was first brought to the island by early Polynesian voyagers. In Hawaiian tradition, these garlands were used by ancient Hawaiians to beautify themselves and distinguish themselves from others. The hula and the lei, the dance and the flower, are an entwined duo of Hawaiian beauty and grace. The concept of this special event is to provide an authentic Hawaiian cultural encounter through sharing and interaction. The Luxe Travel Hawai‘i team looks forward to sharing our culture with you by offering hula and lei making lessons. Visit with our islanders, who will share with you the true spirit of aloha.

Na Hula
The most well known of Hawaiian arts. A noho, or seated hula, can be taught and shared. Basic hula movements and their interpretive meanings will be explained. Those who participate will weave stories through the poetic renderings of ka poe kahiko, the people of old. Hula uses body movements to depict these tales, but hula also encompasses the mental, spiritual, and emotional side of life. Hula teaches focus and concentration. One must look inward to outwardly express the beauty and grace of our native dance. Hula is shared with the eyes, hands, hips, and, most of all, the soul. There is a magical quality to hula.

Na Lei
Some of the various styles of this art are kui (stringing) and haku (wrapping). The joy of lei making is two-fold, the creation of the lei and the giving or wearing of the lei. Culturally, certain flowers, ferns, shells, and seaweed have special symbolic meaning. A kukui lei was always given to na haumana (students) as the kukui signified knowledge and enlightenment. Lei niho palaoa was made from human hair and a whale tooth and was only worn by the highest royalty. This is an artistic art form combining tapestry, texture, and color, where the finished product is greater than the sum of its parts. Share the beauty of lei making and create and keep a memento of aloha.

Interested in Hawaiian culture but would like to learn about something else? No problem– our guides have extensive knowledge on many aspects of Hawaiian life, both ancient and contemporary.

About the Author

Comments are closed.