SPIRIT OF ALOHA
Akahai, meaning kindness to be expressed with tenderness;
Lokahi, meaning unity, to be expressed in harmony;
Oluolu, meaning agreeable, to be expressed with pleasantness;
Haahaa, meaning humility, to be expressed with modesty;
Ahonui, meaning patience, to be expressed with perseverance;
Aloha is more than a word of greeting or farewell or a salutation. Aloha means mutual regard and affection and extends warmth in caring with no obligation in return. Aloha is the essence of relationships in which each person is important to every other person for collective existence.
Aloha means to hear what is not said, to see what cannot be seen and to know the unknowable.
Aloha: The modernized meaning of Aloha is used for: hello, goodbye, and love. The Hawaiian would be a breakdown of the word such as, ALO meaning the presence of spirit and HA meaning the breadth of life. So, saying “ALOHA” to one another is more like greeting and acknowledging the spirit and the life of the one you are addressing. I recognize you as life spirit…ALOHA.
The strength, beauty, and creativity of hula served as an important and vibrant expression of cultural and family events, history, and spirituality, and were once solely performed by male dancers.
Hula is the vehicle used for the hands to tell a story while keeping the rhythm flowing through the body, and to enfold you, and your audience with its emotions found within the story. The hula is fun, lively, sacred, light-hearted, and even satirical, solemn and ritualistic, and what determines the differences is the purpose for which it is danced. In ancient times hula was kapu – forbidden, and sacred, and only taught to those worthy of receiving its’ knowledge and passed on from generation to generation. As a chosen child, you were taken from your family and given to the hula halau to be raised with the hula as your main priority. So sacred was this group of dancers that the halau became your family and secrets were closely guarded and kept within the halau family.
Two types of hula: ancient (kahiko) and modern ('auana) style.
Kahiko – The kahiko style is harder to do. It requires dedication and commitment and years of serious training. This is true hula of our Hawaiian culture. It embodies the beliefs we hold in the sacredness of life, the power of our deities and their descendants on earth, procreation and the respect for all things. It is Hawaiian.
'Auana – This is the style most people in the world are familiar with. It’s fun, far easier to learn and remember and more commonly seen. As in the Kahiko, this style tells the story with the hands. It can be stylish and elegant with long gowns, beautiful leis and flowers in your hair as well as fast paced with swishing skirts. Hula is a story being told, pantomime, in variations with spoken songs and various instruments.
The Hula Kahiko is now considered to be the old traditional style, in opposition to melodical tourist Hulas with typical Hawaiian songs and the singing guitar or Ukulele that is also known as Hula Auana. Hula is the soul of Hawaii expressed in motion. No one knows its exact origins but Hawaiians agree that the first hula was performed by a god or goddesses which makes the dance a sacred ritual.
Some believe the hula was only danced by men, but legend and historical sources tells us both men and women danced. Hawaiian hula is unique and totally different from other Polynesian dances.
Although it began as a form of worship during religious ceremonies, it gradually evolved into a form of entertainment. Every movement in hula has a specific meaning, and every expression of the dancer’s hands has great significance. The movements of a dancer’s body might represent certain plants, animals, and even war. Chants accompany the movements and aid in telling the dancer’s story. Traditionally it was not the dancer’s hands but the words that counted the most. Today, because so few understand the language of the chants, increasing emphasis has been placed on movements and gestures.
Credit to: Francesca Trego, Spirit of the Pacific Islands