Hula, Icons, and Reverence

Hula is how Hawaii knows itself, how it speaks to itself, how it tells its story.

Journey2Kona2019

In the book “Unwritten Literature of Hawaii (The Sacred Songs of the Hula)” the author Nathaniel Bright Emerson speaks of the halau or hall in which old Hula was performed.  Originally the halau was viewed as a temple for a god in which there was always the kuahu, or altar, as the visible temporary abode of the deity.  Upon the kuahu might stand a rough block of wood arrayed in yellow tapa cloth which bodily presence represented the presence of the god itself.  The only expressions proper to the halau were reverence and respect, of which the hula expressed in rhythm, chant and strictly prescribed bodily movement.  Hula is how Hawaii knows itself, how it speaks to itself, how it tells its story.  Hula is the longing of Hawaii’s own heart made incarnate.

So why is it that some, if not many, non-Hawaiians equate the expressions of reverence and respect…

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