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Hawaiian Culture

Dino Morrow photography

Mina Viritua of Halau Akaunu under the tutelage of Kumu Hula Manaiakalani Kalua

Hula is the heartbeat of Hawaiian culture, created to honor one another and tell the story of the Islands in the form of song and dance. What was once a few dances done in a remote Pacific archipelago has since been embraced worldwide, ancient and contemporary styles practiced by halau hula (hula troupes) like Halau Akauna of the Big Island.

What makes hula a premier art form is also what makes the Hawaiian culture so unique—it’s a celebration of life’s natural, everyday beauty. And like the kumu hula, teachers of the halau, who guide the troupes through dance, so do organizations like the Volcano Art Center guide audiences through arts and education.

Hula dancing and the mele (songs) performed are just a few of the many ways that Hawaiian culture has always been about giving to one another. The art of giving, the spirit of aloha, is what connects classic Hawaiian Culture to the present-day Island Culture we know now, a unique culture of native values and Western influence, with somewhat of a turbulent history.

Hawaiiana: History & Culture

Our vignettes about Hawaiian culture encompass a wide range of topics from the significance of traditional Native Hawaiian names to customs and ancient folklore. Each story is an original, written just for our readers by local travel writers and Hawaiian cultural specialists.

The transition from ancient to modern Hawaii was not an easy one. Preserving the native culture’s religious values, language, stories and landmarks required a united community and powerful Hawaiian leaders. Learn the history of the Hawaiian Islands through these stories, written by local writers and Hawaiian cultural specialists.

Island Culture

Explore today’s melting pot of Hawaiian Island culture. Meet the cowboys of Molokai Island, taste the flavors of Hawaii regional fusion cuisine, celebrate unique Hawaii holidays and listen to island music, multilingual tunes with ancient and modern elements. When native Hawaiian culture and international influences meet, the result is a tropical landscape of unique values, tastes, sounds and people.