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Activities Of Ancient Hawaiian Culture Cultural Studies Essay

The historical Hawaiians experienced many game titles and physical activities that were important to their religious beliefs and everyday living. Although many of the activities were culturally important, two activities exceedingly survived to be acknowledged on a worldwide scale: browsing on and hula. The uniqueness of the two activities has made them iconic of Hawaiian culture and has generated a strong sense of delight and restored sense of culture. The goal of my research is to give a history of the popular Hawaiian activities of browsing on and hula and their value to Hawaiian culture. The significance of such activities in relation to culture is an important subject matter in anthropology and the use of main and secondary resources will be my field of analysis in this paper. The research will commence with the history of the Makahiki or Hawaiian New Season and its own importance to game titles and activities as a religious and ethnical event. The study will incorporate both popular traditional Hawaiian activities, including a brief history of their relationship to the historic Hawaiian culture and the importance of the activities to Hawaiians today. It's important to note the effect that globalization has already established on these activities and how their prices and meanings have shifted. Hula and browsing are essential today with regards to tourism, which is the leading industry in Hawaii. Because of globalization and the power of the capitalist market market the value of browsing as a practice of Hawaiian culture has shifted to become vehicle of tourism and entertainment. Furthermore; Hula had been of the most crucial ancient Hawaiian social companies and has eventually shifted to become a vehicle of tourism and recreation. Although the effects of globalization have shifted the ethnical need for these activities, the communal living of Polynesian people would be the pressure that sustains surfing and hula's ethnic importance.


The Hawaiian New Year festival is called Makahiki and was a very important time of the entire year in early Hawaiian civilization. The word Makahiki means "year" in Hawaiian. The celebration marks the end of the harvest and the start of the new agricultural growing season. The party was honoring the god Lono, and encompassed about four a few months from November to March. The special event was separated into three phases: the first being ho'okupu, a period of taxes to the king and redistribution to the people. The next phase was welehu and was specialized in sports and gaming (Jones 1967). The creation of the next period and the mythology behind it shows how activities and games weren't only important to people as method of leisure activities but also how they were important in their regards to culture and spiritual beliefs.

Lo-no was the fourth of the four great gods which were worshiped throughout Polynesia. He had another order of priests and temples of a lower grade. Traditions linked with the ancient kings Lonokawai and Lono-i-ka-makahiki, seem to be to get been blended with those belonging to the primeval god Lo-no. Lono-i-ka-makahiki is respected to get instituted the games which were celebrated through the Ma-hahi-Ri festival. He's said on some bank account to have grown to be offended along with his better half and murdered her; but afterward lamented the take action so much concerning induce circumstances of mental derangement. In this particular state he traveled through all the hawaiian islands, boxing and wrestling with everyone he attained. He subsequently established sail, in a singularly formed canoe, for Tahiti, or a foreign country. After his departure he was deified by his countrymen, and twelve-monthly contests of boxing and wrestling were instituted in his honor. (Cullin 1899: 203)

The third stage of the service was wa'a'auhau and was a time to pay fees to the gods. A canoe was dispatched adrift with a tribute to Lono and after this tribute was paid the ruler would also go adrift. The final take action of the service, regarding to Cullen, occurred when "the king with a numerous company travelled sportfishing, taking the long idol with him. On his return, he was accompanied by a warrior, expert in the spear exercise. As the king leaped ashore a man rushed ahead with two spears bound with white kapa, and hurled one at him, that was parried, after which he simply touched the king with the other spear, and the wedding ceremony was over" (1899: 204). The final action was the "sham struggle, " in which the king overcame the islanders' security of the landing which symbolized his worthy of and permitted him to continue to rule. Seaton assumes that, "the level of the protection was proportional to the overall dissatisfaction, for inability to land was deemed by the Hawaiians as a demo that the ruling chief got lost his mana and for that reason, the right to rule" (1974: 201). Overall, the Makahiki is referred to as "an interval of renewal, an period during which the divine order of the king was upturned and the regimens of socia1 ranking and work were suspended. It was carnival, warfare was suspended, sociability and play were the main activities. " (Davenport 1987: 177). The ancient Hawaiians would anticipate this special event and the whole year is at preparation for it. Therefore, it is reasonable to take a position that practice of video games and physical activities were common throughout the year and common in the daily life of historic Hawaiians with particular importance being positioned on the practice of surfing and hula because of their regards to the economy and religion of early Hawaii.


He'e Nalu (browsing) started in traditional Hawaii and was important in early culture because of its relationship to overall economy and religion. Browsing on was a very popular sport, so popular in fact that it is the only sport of Hawaiian origin to flourish at an international level today. The history of the activity is very difficult to discern because of diffusion and the fact that all ancient Polynesians had a mastery of oceanic skills, although most scholars concur that it was at Hawaii that activity flourished. The Surfers Almanac talks about the evolution of surfing by means of diffusion by settlers of Hawaii from other parts of Polynesia:

The Marquesans taken to their new Hawaiian home their old sport of paipo-riding a influx on a small, rounded mother board while lying susceptible, the sport today called tummy boarding or knee boarding. The Tahitians also helped bring a common aquatic pastime to Hawaii. They rode the inbound waves while standing up in a wa'a ("canoe"), a task they called paka. When achieved it happen a young Marquesan using a paipo plank to surf susceptible, viewed a newcomer from Tahiti browsing on erect in his canoe and made a decision to stand after his paipo, discovering that if he previously enough rate he could achieve this? That moment in time was the birthdate of surfboarding. (Filosa 1977: 2).

Like many areas of old Polynesian culture, browsing was stratified predicated on social rank. Filosa points out, "the Hawaiian nobility, the alii, used the fantastic olo ("heavy") table. The makaainana, the commoners, used the alaia ("thin") mother board. The nobles liked gradual, undulating waves such as those bought at the mother beach of searching, Waikiki; the commoners preferred fast-breaking steep waves such as those at Waimea Bay" (Filosa 1977: 3). Searching come to its pinnacle in traditional life with King Kamehameaha II who abolished the tabus on browsing. All people in the future could surf nonetheless they pleased. Searching became a nationwide sport and very important to the modern culture. Like many Hawaiian activities the ancients would create competitions predicated on skill and mastery of the build. The connection of browsing on to historical Hawaiian culture was based on these competitions which had an impact on the current economic climate. In conditions of the gambling side of the sport, Malo and claims that: "Surf operating was a nationwide sport of the Hawaiians, on which these were very fond of bets, each man staking his property on the one he considered to most competent" (1951: 223). It was because of gaming and the arrival of Congregationalist missionaries from Boston that the experience almost became extinct. The spiritual taboos on gaming and the confiscation of land by the missionaries triggered a dramatic drop in the populace and in place so did the activity of browsing, Filosa identifies the decline and reason behind its revival:

With the death of so many Hawaiians, the activity of surfing slowly but surely dropped, until in 1898 when the islands were annexed to america, significantly less than fifty Hawaiians still surfed, and these used the fantastic olo planks. By 1900, there were less than ten surfers, but among them was a boy delivered in 1890 of royal blood. He was destined to salvage the nationwide sport of his people and become the father of modern browsing on. His name was Duke Paoa Kahinu Makoe Hulikohola Kahanamoku, son of Duke Halapu Kahanamoku and Julia Paakonia Lonokahikini Paoa. He's still revered by surfers worldwide simply as 'the Duke. '" (Filosa1977: 4)

Surfing as a physical exercise had its foundation in Hawaiian religious beliefs and culture. It had been Kamehameha the Great who made searching the nationwide sport of Hawaii. Kamehameha II, his child, who abolished the tabu system so that all Hawaiians could participate in the sport. Last but not least, Duke Kahanamoku held the sport alive and transported it throughout the world. The diffusion of traditional surfing and modern browsing on has undoubtedly created opportunity and take great pride in due to the ever growing acceptance of this ethnical pastime which includes become a powerful global industry.


Whereas browsing on gained its recognition today due to its work as a sport, hula is much more than simply a physical exercise done for pleasure. "The hula can be viewed as a distinctive and integral element of the Hawaiian culture" (Williams 1973: 177). Hula is translated as "to boogie and make sport to the accompaniment of music and music. " Unlike surfing and other athletics and activities hula was something that was considered very significantly and applied in everyday living. Mitchell (1975) areas that "the tight and strenuous training for the professional guy and feminine dancers long over a period of years. " (pg 85). But the hula may have been practiced in everyday activity, the historic Hawaiians did not use it for their own amusement as it is done today. The hula experienced great spiritual importance and dances were performed for kings, chiefs, or the public during important ceremonies like the makahiki. The dancers were specially chosen and were placed in high respect throughout Polynesia. These dancers required special education and arduous trained in traditions, music, and boogie. Those persons who had been chosen to be dancers were specifically chosen because of hula's marriage to religious beliefs. Emerson points out that "it (hula) was a spiritual affair and the participants therefore had to guard against profanation with a conservative system of tapus and priestly rites"(1965: 13). The dancers were initiated into a college which was more of a ethnical organization called a halau. The halau functioned regarding to an extremely strict set of regulations and rules. In early Hawaii the stringent tapus and importance of the hula required the halau to be always a built by the complete surrounding population and the united effort regularly managed to get possible for a halau to be built in one day. Williams (1977) shows the importance of the hula to historical Hawaiians when she says:

The hula not only was an embodiment of the beliefs and worth of individuals but also dished up as the keeper of traditions and as a vehicle of communication for transferring on religion, record, and legends. The hula functioned as a social transmitter because it embodied, within the boogie activities and the dance music and chants, knowledge and profitable skills, interpersonal sanctions, genealogies, personal and community experiences and the imagery arising from man's regards to dynamics. (pg 177)

Like ancient forms of browsing on, the dances and the video games were essentially discontinued following the introduction of foreign ways into Hawaii. Fortunately during the mid 19th century, King Kalakaua sponsored a revival of the hula while there have been experts still residing in the kingdom. Because of tourism and to a greater degree globalization hula as a symbol of Hawaiian culture but is not practically as important as it once was. It is a distinctively Hawaiian activity but it is seen mostly as a physical activity and not as an important cultural organization. In Hawaiian Hula: an Establishment, Williams (1973) writes:

The hula, once a proud, vital establishment of religious origin, has 'wandered so significantly' that now the recollection of computer is either totally ignored or is associated 'with the riotous and ardent ebullitions of Polynesian kings and the amorous posturing of these voluptuaries. ' A difference must be produced between the traditional varieties and the gestures, bodily contortions, and words uttered by men and women celebrities of the hula today. Many stars in the hula no more understand the meanings of the words, or 'suit the action to the phrase'. The hula sounds of old were performed in large solution in ways 'untainted with grossness'(1973: 182).

Although some may view hula in this framework, elucidating the distinctions between modern and ancient hula, the fact that it has such profound rooted uniqueness and ethnic symbolism is important to Hawaiians and Polynesians in general.


Of the countless activities and video games that traditional Hawaiians had, hardly any survived to make a difference to Hawaiians today. Browsing and hula are two Hawaiian pastimes which have survived and their record is testament with their importance in Hawaiian culture. Searching, primarily a leisure activity that was utilized daily and found in spiritual ceremonies such as makahiki has become a very large international industry. Due to globalization this industry has shown to be very important to Hawaiian culture due to its relation to tourism. Surfing and surfing events including the "triple crown" entice millions of individuals every year to the islands. Tourism is the leading industry in Hawaii and like many other island communities travel and leisure and browsing on are creating new frontiers and opportunies. Hula, although not as popular globally as browsing on, has remained a essential part of Hawaiian culture. This organization was of the most importance to the ancient Hawaiians daily lifetime and "functioned as an instrument to assist their religious values" (Williams 1973:177). Actually, hula was so important that it's said that each activity of the ancient Hawaiians had its hula, from waking in the morning to carving a canoe. Because of globalization the value of the Hawaiian hula has shifted from a spiritual and cultural activity to a task that has its root base in Hawaiian culture but is utilized primarily for holiday spectacles and physical exercise.

Although globalization has shifted the importance of the activities, the Hawaiian culture in its old and present varieties and "the close communal and co-operative type of existence of the individuals" (Jones 1967:204) have shown to be the reason for the creation of the activities and this exclusively sustains their social importance.

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