Pre-1778: The Native Hawaiians developed their traditional dance hula, which was associated with religious practices. The hula’s chants express stories, genealogy, and history of the Hawaiian people.
In the first observance of hula by foreigners, European explorer Captain James Cook and his crew watched a hula kāla’au performance on the island of Kauai.
1819: Kamehameha II abolished the kapu system. A royal decree prohibited the worship of Hawaiian gods, and heiau (temples) and images of gods were destroyed. Hula loses its traditional context, although the dance continued to be performed.
The missionaries arrived in Hawaii and introduced Christianity to the Hawaiians. The missionaries, advisors to the Hawaiian government, greatly influenced public policy and strongly discouraged hula, which they saw as “heathen” and “lascivious.”
1830: Influenced by the missionaries and converted to Christianity five years before, Queen Regent Kaahumanu banned public performances of hula.
May 1851: Under the first law in Hawaii that punished public performances of the hula, the Minister of the Interior was to license all public performances, requiring a large fee for each performance. However, private performances were difficult to regulate.
1860s: Because hula was discouraged, it was practiced secretly.
1870: The restriction on hula was eased, as the government reduced the fees, fines, and penalties for performing hula and allowed public performances outside of Honolulu and Lahaina.
1883: King David Kalakaua’s love of hula revived the dance. Kalakaua hosted hula performances in events including the celebration of his coronation in 1883 and his fiftieth birthday in 1886 (King’s Jubilee).
1920s: With the rise in the tourist industry in Hawaii, Hula ‘Auana, the westernized hula, was performed on tourist shows and hollywood films, with melodic songs, string instrument accompaniment, and sensual gestures.
ope started the Merrie Monarch Festival, a three-day hula competition, which played an important role in the Hawaiian Renaissance.
1970s: The Hawaiian Renaissance spawned a resurgence in the traditional Hawaiian cultural identity.
Suggested Search Terms: hula, hulahula, “Hawaiian dance,” “Toots Paka,” “Princess Luana”
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Articles From Chronicling America
“Hula-hula dances scientifically investigated at last”
New-York tribune. (New York [N.Y.]) 1866-1924, January 23, 1910, Image 53
“The truth about Waikiki”
New-York tribune. (New York [N.Y.]) 1866-1924, November 26, 1916, Image 39
“Dying Hawaiian Customs”
New-York tribune. (New York [N.Y.]) 1866-1924, April 16, 1899, Image 38
“Honoluluans protest against exposition hula hula dance”
El Paso herald. (El Paso, Tex.) 1901-1931, September 16, 1916, HOME EDITION, Magazine and Feature Section, Image 32
“Hope for Hawaii at World’s Fair”
Evening bulletin. (Honolulu [Oahu, Hawaii) 1895-1912, March 17, 1904, 3:30 O’CLOCK EDITION, Image 1
“Hula, miimiki, haka-hakas, etc.”
The Hawaiian gazette. (Honolulu [Oahu, Hawaii]) 1865-1918, September 15, 1911, Image 5
An editorial denouncing hula
The Hawaiian gazette. (Honolulu [Oahu, Hawaii]) 1865-1918, December 14, 1886, Image 4
“Hula trust is possible”
The Hawaiian gazette. (Honolulu [Oahu, Hawaii]) 1865-1918, June 05, 1908, Image 1
“Stopped the Dance: Mrs. Wilcox Wanted the Hula-Hula but Captain Said ‘No.'”
The Minneapolis journal. (Minneapolis, Minn.) 1888-1939, August 09, 1901, Image 16