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Hawaiian Traditions

Hawaiian Traditions
Hula, & Lomilomi, Lua, Waakaulua, Ipu

Hawaiian culture stayed in isolation form other cultures for centruries. South Polynesian "forgott" somehow about Hawaiian islands (the far distance probably was the reason) and the rest of the world just did not know about their existence. Thus this fact, on Hawaii the unique culture developed. Famous Hawaiian Hula dance -the traditional form of "talking" to the gods, traditional Hawaiian massage - Lomilomi, known from its unique power as well as Lua - marshal art, the art of using spiritual power - mana.

For many of us - researchers - some of Hawaiian skills are undirect prove, that Hawaiian culture - isolated form the rest of the world for a lond time - preseved very old traditions, which have roots in much, much older civilisations.

There is no simply explanations for the wisdom about human psychology, which was used by old Kahunas. There are not easy modern explanations for the spirituar power - mana. Their knowledge about dealing with spirit of whose whos body died, was deep and similar to very old practices in Africa as well Tibet. Looks like the long cultural isolations become the blessing for today world - we can heal our life using preserved on Hawaii wisdom which was preserved there from our very old ancestors.

Hawaiian Mythology

Hawaiian mythology is full of fantastic stories about gods and goddesses. Some live in deep valeys, some hight in the sky. Many of them have been humans long time before they became gods. From this point - Hawaiian gods are different to the concept of God, existing in modern westers cultures. The skills which gods were presenting, their dedication to the Ohana in time of their human existence, was creating the highest value for society and after death of the body resulted in becoming a God of certain type. This way gods on old Hawaii was not just abstract concepts to worship, they have been extremally grouded in human reality and thus though real life actions were extended to "goddish" bevel.

One of the most remembered Goddesses on Hawaii today is Pele, the Goddess of Volcano. The stories about Pele, who in shape of old woman stand in the night on the side of the road and stops your car asking for the lift - are still alive. Old Hawaiian people believe, that Pele can take many shapes and if you meet her, it is not a good idea, to ignore her. Many people on Hawaii refer to their experiences of meeting Pele, in very strange life situation. For wester mind such stories are just superstitions and imagination. But we need to remember that we are living in totaly different reference scale culture. To understand the experiences of Hawaiian people, we would need to be born in their culture and live there.

Lately we visited the Kalapana village, where fire of Pele was taking a house of our friends. They were making a feast instead of crying and being angry. Some of our friends asked them - "how it is what you are able to enjoy the situation, that your home is destroyed by lava flow? they answere: "we don't enjoy that our hause is destroyed. We are giving our home to Pele as a gift. We understand that if she choose to take it, we can discuss such decision." This is the example of reactions, which may be not easy to be understood in western culture frames of reference.

For some Hawaiian people - especially on Big Island - Pele is not the one who destroys, she as well build new land ...home for future generations.. With her unpredictibility, with her power - Hawaiian people knows, its no way to discuss. You accept it or you suffer. Living close to Pele's home teacher people enourmous lesson about humility and power. And Love.

Hi'iaka i ka Poli o Pele

is the jungest sister of Goddess Pele. She was most beloved by Pele. She is present in many chants to Pele. Hi'iaka i ka Poli o Pele represents ability to heal, feel compassion and act with humility and devotion. She is the heroin of many stories about healing. With her gentleness and loving approach, she represent human ability to stay helpful even for the costs of own happines.

Laka is still present in Hawaiian mythology as the Goddess of Hula dance. She helps to follow hundrets of generations of traditions, knowledge and widsom kept in Hula stories, gesturesa and chants. For Hula dancers today she still offer spiritual help and protection.

Kane - the male god of creation tand on the panteon, as one - who represent male aspect of creation. God who lived high in heaven, who look from above and sends Water of Life to the Earth. In eveyday life he would be called by kahunas for healing deep problems.

Lono was the God, very known in last part of Hawaiian history though the events, connected with arrival of cpt. James Cook. He arrived to Kealakekua bay in time of God Lono, when most people from the island were praying to the God Lono for abundance and fertility of their land. Legend said that Lono left the island and will come back on the island with white trees... And ship of J.cook look exaclty like the small island with white trees - from the distance. For peole who only were using canoe for traveling though ocean, the arrival of Cook was like fulfillment of the profecy. So, cpt. Cook was invited to the old heaiau and ritauls were made for bringing him to Hawaiin Gods panteon... A mistake, which many Hawaiins believe, is still affecting Hawaiian reality.

Ku God was connected with very old traditions of life in close connection with nature. The latest remembered aspect of Ku god - Kukailimoku - was a God of a war. Used for unifiying all Hawaiian islands by king Kamehameha I, stayed in memmory in present tourist books. Alhough not many tourists know, that ancient god Ku was the god of life.

What realy is interesing in Hawaiian mythology, is the awrenes of interactions between human and nature. Kahunas of many types have been respecting this cooperation with great respect. Although they could not pass this values to new commoners, white people with different values, different cultural frames and beliefs.

Hawaiian Musik

Traditional Hawaiian chants were very often recited with the specific rythm, with accompaniament of drums. The music was not complex, rather simple. The chanted story was more important than the "song" in sense of its artistic estetic.

Chants were on old Hawaii the very important part of life in wide sense. Because Hawaiians had no written language in sense we have, all important information about all aspects of reality - were pass from generation to generation in chants. So, medicine knowlegde, history of the tribe, memory of ancestors as well as informations about navigation, canoe making, birht giving - all information were given in chants.

The person who was taught all the information from the family traditions - was first child. This child would not be rised by parents but grandparents. In references to our culture frames - it sound strange, but is good to remember that on old Hawaii the family would live very close, within one village!

The child would participate in rituals and habits of Kahuna or Kupuna, growing in the atmosphere of passed wisdom, not only receing information. Later in life would naturaly start using absorbed knowledge.

Traditional Hawaiian music is simply in melody and rythm but very rich in poetry, meaning, and form expressions.

Hula

Hawaiian traditional dance

Hula today - is connected with the picture of beautiful woman nearly nacked moving her hips following rythm of nice radio music. Best with coconuts on the breast and grass on her hips. How far this picture is from the traditional Hawaiian hula dance?

Traditional Huna dance was a temple dance. It was originaly performed by jung men and women before their reach adult age. Traditional hula was performed for Gods, not humans. Hula was the language in which Kahuna of certain type would talk to gods...

To be a hula dancer required from the person full purity - of intentions as well of the body. When hula dancers were ready to create own family and were ready for sexual intimacy, it was the end of their servance to the Gods in the manner of being hula dancer.

Hula was the way to tell stories, to send messages to higher evergies, with which Kahunas were closely binded. Kahunas were asking gods for healing, for support, for strengh. Such conversation was an intimte experience for both Kahuna and hula dancers.

It was 1883 when hula was first presented to the public - with the permission of Hawaiian king Kalakaua. From that time traditions of using and performing hula changed. It was created new type of hula - Hula Auana - the entertiment type of dance. Today most of hula, which you see in TV or other media - is Hula Auana.

The old type Hula Kahiko is performed today mostly on special event on Hawaii - traditional festivals and within Halau's - old types of hula schools.

Hula Ala'a-papa - highest rank Hula
Hula pa-ipu or kuolo - with ipu accompaniament, usully on knees
Hula Ki'i - while using Ki'i - marionetts
Hula pahu - with pahu drum accompaniament
Hula Uli-Uli - with uli-uli accompaniament, hand rattles.
Hula Puili - with bambu sticks
Hula Ka-laau - hula with sticks accompaniament
Hula Ili-Ili - with pebbles accompaniament
Hula Ka-Eke-Eke - hula with bambu instrument
Hula Niau-Kani - one classic hula dance
Hula Ohe - Ohe Hano Ihu - nose flet accompaniament

Hula on Hawaii today ”

There are many schools of hula today on Hawaii as well in many countries in the world. The school of hula is called Halau. Students can be small children, who are taught ancient forms and adilts people who seak for entertiment and learn Hula Auana.

Hula Kahiko forms are generally more advance on every level - from phisycal to spiritual. Hula Auana is decideted to bring happiness and pleasure, in contraty to Hula Kahiko, which goal was to preserve the knowledge and contact with higher energies.

For traditional purposes hula dancers wear beautiful fresh-flower leis and tapa clothes when dancing hula. Exist on Hawaii various styles of performing Hula as well various styles of clothing. There are beautiful and very insiring.

For traditional performances Hula dancers meet in certain of year on Big Island Hawaii near Haleuma'uma'u craater to dance for Godess Pele or on Kauai island in the oldest existing Hula temple, where 90th generation of hula dancers still pray to Goddess Laka. .

Hawaiian Lua Art

Lua is a short name of Kapu Kuialua or Pa Kaialua. It means in general Hawaiian traditional marshal art. In direct traslation means „forbidden marshal art”.

Traditionaly Lua was taught only for highest chief family members. It was forbidden to teach it to other members of society.

Modern Lua include elements of jujustu, judo, karate and aikido although oroginal roots of Lua go probably back into very ancient times.

Lua worriers keep their heads shaved and put oil on their bodies, what make it easy to escape from being cought.

The practice on Hawaii still performing the old art of Lua - great person Oloe Kolomono „Sol” Kaihewalu and Olohe David Nuuhiwa. They keep alive not only teachniques but as well the values of old Hawaiian marshal art. Mahalo!

Aloha!
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