Hawaiian Culture

Hawaiian Culture

Culture of Hawaii

The traditional culture of the Native Hawaiians who descended from the Polynesian line is the base of the origin of present day Hawaii culture. Different ethic groups which have been a part of Hawaii over the last 2000 years has added a bit of their culture and practices to the rich and unique culture, tradition, beliefs and heritage of Hawaii over the years. Hawaii has a great touch of the Asian culture from the Asian people who came and settled here back in the early nineteenth century as workers of the sugar plantation; the English culture also has a small but definite donation towards the Hawaiian heritage.

Traditional Religions of Hawaii

The belief in God and religious practice was brought into the state of Hawaii with the Tahitians who arrived in the island in AD 1100. Ho'oponopono was the ancient religion practiced in Hawaii which includes reconciliation and forgiveness, combined with prayer. The Kahuna or the healing priest was the person to practice Ho'oponopono in the ancient times, but today, its modern version is practiced by the family members or by oneself. Some of the gods worshiped by the Hawaiians are the God of Agriculture and providence, Lono, God of War, Ku, the God of procreation and the sea, Kane (who is also believed to be the ancestor of the whole world), God of underworld, Kanaloa and the family totems who watches up on the family, Aumakua.

Folklore in Hawaii

Different aspects of the Hawaiian Mythology and a number of urban legends have blended together to create the modern time folklore of the state. The Ancient Hawaiian Folklore includes the tale of the night marchers, the ghost of ancient warriors who walk along the ancient battle field and takes anyone who comes across them and looks directly into their eyes. Another folklore tale of the Hawaii is about carrying pork over the Wali Highway connecting the Honolulu and the Windward Oahu. According to the natives, if anyone does so, their vehicle or anything in which they are traveling stops at a certain point on the bridge and will restart only after the pork is thrown out. There are still many folklore stories that are circulating in the state even today, these include tales concerning the Morgan's corner, the Seven bridges of Manoa and the green lady who wanders in search of her lost child.

Music of Hawaii

The music of Hawaii includes the traditional styles like the Hawaiian folk music to the most popular styles like the modern rock and hip hop. Hawaii had indeed made large contribution to the music of the nation and some of it includes the slack key guitar, Hawaiian tinged music, and the steel guitar which made a major contribution to the country music.

Hawaii's musical heritage mainly comprises of the traditional Hawaiian folk music; this is largely religious in nature and has lots of chants and dance music in it. The Hawaiian people who have lived on this land for hundreds of years still retain much of the traditional music in their hearts. The music of the other Polynesian Islands do have a great impact from the Hawaiian music which is considered as the 'unifying factor in the development of modern pacific music' by Peter Manuel, the music author.

Hawaiian Literature

Storytelling and passing it on have helped to shape the state’s literary development even when they did not start the use of written language. The Polynesian people who first came to the island of Hawaii considered knowledge as a sacred and spiritual power which they were afraid to spread among the common people. Oration or ha'i'okeki, was an important part of storytelling (kukahekahe), entertainment and passing on the historical events, poems and myths during this time. And the literature of the state and the likeness towards the story and songs developed even before the development of a written language. With the emergence of literacy in the island, many authors began to spill their talents into the paper. Some of those who have contributed to the richness of the Hawaiian literature are Kiana Davenport, Tara Bray Smith, Lois Yann Yamanaka, Terence McKenna and Kirby Wright.

Hawaiian Art

The art practice of Hawaii began even before Captain Cook discovered the state in 1778, and the art is divided as those existing before Cooks discovery and those done after it by incorporating Western ideas and materials. Wood carving, feather works, rock engravings and tattoos are the ancient art forms practiced by the Hawaii natives. But with the coming of the foreigners, among the amateur and professional artist, the development of the art took a new phase which used modern paints and drawings made from artificial colors.

Hawaiian Language

Hawaiian language which is a Polynesian language is now largely displaced by English and other languages. Only about 0.1 percent of the people on the island speak this language today. Many steps have been taken by the Hawaii government from the year 1949 to promote the language which practically moved away for other languages. In 1984, Punana Leo with Hawaiian language immersion was started as a pre-school; many other immersion schools followed soon after.