The Legacy of Hula

Every evening at our Waikiki resort hotel, Hawaiian music and dance is performed under the centuries-old Kiawe tree at House Without A Key. While guests are taking in the iconic views of Diamond Head and sipping on one of our signature drinks, they’re also enjoying hula, a tradition that has its roots in the earliest inhabitants of our islands.    

Originated by the Polynesians who settled in the Hawaiian Islands, hula is comprised of chant, song and movement that together, tell a story. As Hawaiian history is oral history, the chants and songs told of royalty, significant events, mythology and other stories. Many hula were created to be performed for chiefs, as a form of entertainment or honor.

Hula was banned by missionaries in the early 1800s, then was re-established in the 1830s by King Kamehameha III. The last king of Hawaii, David Kalakaua, whose reign lasted until 1891, encouraged its performance, adding moves, costumes, text and songs. Known as the Merrie Monarch, King Kalakaua loved to travel and hula was often performed for him as he visited the islands.

The Merrie Monarch Festival, named in his honor, is a week-long celebration and hula competition in Hilo, on the Big Island of Hawaii. Considered the most prestigious of all hula contests, many hula schools from across the US and around the world attend. This year, the festival runs from April 5-11, 2015.

At Halekulani, we are proud to offer our guests the opportunity to experience the tradition, culture and beauty of hula and Hawaiian music, every evening at House Without A Key.