I was raised in a culture where dance was considered a second language. Hawaii, my first home, truly epitomizes how dance can speak to the minds and hearts of many and stir emotions of the soul. It is much more than a form of entertainment, and often will tell a story through the graceful movement of the body and hands.
The Hula was originally a part of the religious traditions in the Pacific Islands. It was used to honor and entertain royalty. Today, many of its sacred religious choreography is still danced to tell stories of their ancient chiefs and gods. While the hula is still a very popular form of entertainment in venues all around the island, much of the dance has been redeemed to express worship to the one true God.
Every year in Hawaii, a huge event called the Merrie Monarch Festival is held to celebrate the dances of the islands. The event draws dancers from all across the country to compete for coveted trophies in each of the different forms of dance. Visitors to the islands, and residents are treated to musicians and dancers who rehearse all year-long to participate in this festival.
The costumes that are worn, are as beautiful as the dancers that wear them. The fragrant flower leis, and colorful dresses move in perfect harmony to the melodies and graceful hands of the dancers. Many observers who watch , may not understand the meaning of each motion, but yet, they are captivated by the story that is being told.
I learned to dance from a very young age. Born and raised in Hawaii, learning the music and dances was a natural part of my growing up there. Every family event, whether, birthdays, anniversaries or weddings, included music and dance. The Holidays were no exception. Christmas and New Years is always celebrated with lots of food, the music of guitars and ukuleles and beautifully arrayed hula dancers. I miss the islands at Christmas time.
My daughter, Nicole, the picture you see above, is a beautiful dancer and is part of a group of dancers who minister at the church she attends and in the community. Below is a short video of she and the group dancing at The Maui Mall. They are dancing to the song, A Maui Christmas. Nicole is in the middle of the front row.
There are many Hawaiian Christmas Songs, one of which has been heard far beyond the island borders. Perhaps you have heard of it. The name of the song is Melekalikimaka (my spell check is going crazy right now). It simply means Merry Christmas. Some of the words go like this:
Melekalikimaka, is the thing to say
On a bright Hawaiian Christmas Day,
It’s the Hawaiian greeting that I send to you,
From the land where palm trees sway.
With that, I will close with this thought, even if you may not do the hula, everyone can do a “happy dance”, so dance like no one is watching. From my family to yours, have a very Merry Christmas and a Prosperous New Year.
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