Hula in Hawaii

Hawaiian gifts

You can see it. The iconic image of a hula girl swaying her hips in a grass skirt. While that vision of the modern hula (hula auana) is based in truth, hula is so much more to the people of Hawaii. This uniquely Hawaiian dance accompanied by chant or song is a way Native Hawaiians perpetuate their stories, traditions and culture. Come to Hawaii and witness the powerful beauty of an authentic hula performance. To see the best perform, visit the Merrie Monarch Festival in April, the most prestigious hula competition in the world. Held every year in the town of Hilo on Hawaii, the Big Island, tickets can be tough to get. But don't worry, there are plenty of festivals and competitions held year round on every island that allow you to experience this moving art form.

What is hula?
Hula is a uniquely Hawaiian dance accompanied by chant or song that preserves and perpetuates the stories, traditions and culture of Hawaii. Hawaiian legends tell stories of hula beginning on the islands of Molokai and Kauai. Today, this enchanting art form has become a worldwide symbol of Hawaiian culture and the beauty of Hawaii’s people. The popularity of hula has spread to the U.S. mainland, Japan and even Europe.

Hula Skirts

There are many types and styles of hula. Hula auana (modern hula) is danced to western influenced music and features a more modern and fluid style. This is the most familiar type of hula to visitors. Hula kahiko (ancient hula) is danced to dramatic chants and percussion with more traditional costumes.

Where can I see hula?
You can see authentic hula throughout the islands at seasonal festivals and competitions as well as live performances at hotels and resorts. The Merrie Monarch Festival held in Hilo on Hawaii’s Big Island is the world’s premier hula competition, but tickets can be tough to get. Other outstanding hula events are held throughout the year in Hawaii. The Prince Lot Hula Festival, the World Invitational Hula Festival and Na Hula Festival on Oahu, as well as the Kauai Mokihana Festival on Kauai also feature authentic hula. Molokai, which is especially proud of its hula traditions, celebrates the hula every May at the Molokai Ka Hula Piko Festival.

A luau is another fun and festive place to watch the hula and learn about Hawaiian and Polynesian culture. Fantastic luau venues can be found throughout the islands like the Surf to Sunset Luau at the Sheraton Kauai, the Paradise Cove Luau or the Alii Luau at the Polynesian Cultural Center on Oahu, and the Old Lahaina Luauon Maui, to name a few.

Where can I learn hula?
Hula is traditionally taught by a kumu hula (hula teacher) in a hula halau (hula school). Visitors can get a free lesson at places like the Royal Hawaiian Center or the Waikiki Beach Walk on Oahu. If you’re brave enough, some luau shows even let you take the stage to show off your new hula skills.

Where can I get hula skirts?
KTC Hawaiian is the best place for your hula skirt -- and actually all Hawaiian clothing -- needs. With over 3,000 authentic Hawaiian items, everyone will find the perfect item. So hula online to KTC Hawaiian -- we deliver Hawaii to you.

If you enjoyed this post....
  • and you are planning a party or luau
  • and want to your guests to be doing the hula
  • and a party/luau your guests will be raving about for months!

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