HONOLULU (KHON2) – In Hawaiʻi, we all make use of our roadways, but when was the last time you paid attention to the given names?  

Did you know you could learn more about Hawaiʻi if you did?

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Our weekly “Aloha Authentic” segment highlights various roadways around the islands so we can dig into the given name and as a result, learn something new.  

This week, we learn about the dance of Hawaiʻi.

In the ahupuaʻa of Waikele, which lies in the moku of ʻEwa here on Oʻahu, stands a street named after what is known as the heartbeat of the Hawaiian people.  

We are talking about Hula Street.

Hula is the language of the heart, and therefore the heartbeat of the Hawaiian people.”

These words were once uttered by King David Kalākaua, affectionately known as the Merrie Monarch.  

It was largely because of his efforts that hula survived and thrives today.

Prior to western contact in 1778, hula served as a means of bringing story and imagination together for preservation.  

Despite many variations of its origin story, hula is rooted in religion, spirituality, storytelling, and nature.  

Some say the first hula dancer was the ʻāina or the earth around us, from the flutters of leaves and branches to the breezing of the winds to the ebb and flow of the ocean’s water.  

Other stories share that hula was used by Hawaiian warriors to stay in shape off the battlefield.

Nonetheless, because of missionary influence, public performances were banned in 1830, one decade after their initial arrival. 

For over 50 years, hula was practiced in secrecy.  

But in 1883, by the love of the art, King Kalākaua helped to revive hula kahiko, or ancient dances, by holding performances at events including his coronation and his 50th birthday.

Modern dances, or hula ʻauana, stem from Hawaiʻi’s foreigners and tourism foreigners, adding the playful sounds of western musical instruments.

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Did you know? Now you do!