Hawaiian Grass Skirts
The tradition of Hula and grass skirts are an integral part of Hawaiian culture. The early Polynesians danced Hula to tell stories of the gods as well as recount history through chants and song. Hula was banned in Hawaii a few decades after the arrival of Captain Cook in 1778. The dance was still practiced secretively until religious freedom was granted to the Hawaiian people in the 1830s. The "Merrie Monarch" King David Kalakaua is credited for resurrecting and popularizing the lost art of Hula. Today Hula is studied throughout the U.S. and the world and the "Merrie Monarch" is honored with an annual Hula competition here in Hawaii. The most famous symbol of the Hawaiian hula is the grass skirt, traditionally the Hawaiians used ti leaves, the ti leaf is wider than the thinner strands of grass that are used today. The grass skirt was introduced to Hawaii in the early 1800s by laborers who arrived in Hawaii from the Gilbert Islands.
"The hula is the heartbeat of the Hawaiian people." -King David Kalakaua
Allure of the Hula Girl
The hula girl became a part of popular culture during the vaudeville era during the teens and 1920s. During this time Hawaiians began to travel, perform hula and give the world a glimpse of Hawaiian tradition, culture and costume. World War II brought servicemen to Hawaii and they sent hula dolls, hula girl costumes and postcards back to the states. These images of exotic beauties sparked the imagination of the world. Sometimes portrayed as innocent, sometimes as a sexy siren, the hula girl's swaying hips and golden skin appeared in advertizing, tiki mugs, menus, matchbooks and postcards.