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Dressing for Paradise

Planning your trip to paradise includes dressing the part too! Polynesia’s rich culture and history have inspired all aspects of life on the islands, especially fashion. As Hawaii’s number one paid attraction and cultural hotspot, The Polynesian Cultural Center and the adjoining Hukilau Marketplace are the perfect place to learn about the beautiful designs and styles that are deeply rooted in tradition and heritage. Today, the beautiful colors and ornamentation of the indigenous Polynesians live on in modern-day styles such as sundresses, jewelry, and most commonly...
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2019 Moanikeala Hula Festival – a ...

  People all over the world love Hawaiian hula dancing, and serious hula dancers have much respect for their kumu (teachers). Haumana or students join halau (schools) based on the styles, traditions and reputation of the kumu. In Hawaii, it’s common for some haumana to remain in the same halau for years, ranging from keiki (children) to kupuna (elders). Hula knowledge is traditionally passed down over years of rigorous training and performances. Kumu learned the same way from their kumu— who might be someone in their own family lines. Even if not, kumu often trace...
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Tongan proverbs shows family devotion

Throughout history people all over the world have used proverbs — a general statement of truth or advice drawn from observations of surroundings or actions. For example, one of the best-known English-language proverbs, “a picture is worth a thousand words,” means images usually help a person understand emotions and/or messages better than written or spoken explanations. Well, it turns out Polynesians also particularly love proverbs using their own respective languages and references. Here is an example from Tonga that you might find interesting: Tonga: ‘The almond tree...
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The Polynesian Cultural Center’s most sy...

The Maori whare tupuna or ancestral meeting house that dominates the Aotearoa Village is perhaps the most symbolic structure in the entire Polynesian Cultural Center. ‘These buildings memorialize great leaders’ Kim Makekau, Aotearoa Village manager, recently explained several key points he hopes all Polynesian Cultural Center visitors learn about the whare tupuna: ■ “Each ancestral meeting house, in the main, is named after a significant common ancestor of that particular tribal area. That’s where you want to start from. These buildings memorialize great leaders. Their...
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Hawai’i students keep Samoan tradi...

  ‘We Are Samoa’  Hundreds of Hawai’i high school students practiced for months to learn traditional Samoan customs, songs, dances and household chores so they could share them with several thousand parents and fans on Saturday, May 11, 2019, during the Polynesian Cultural Center’s 27th annual We Are Samoa festival. The festival is held each year in conjunction with the PCC’s World Fireknife Championships, which has its own tradition of being a don’t-miss event. As in years past, the entire Pacific Theater was sold out. Many more people from around...
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Powerful Polynesian symbolism you can se...

Polynesians use symbols to represent ideas, emotions, states of mind, phrases, movements, memories, loved ones and much more. The symbols can be embodied in words, names, carvings, lei, designs, dance, music, and so on. Hawaiians say many such representations have kaona, expressions with deeper meanings, concealed references or inuendos. The kaona might be beautiful or romantic, others sarcastic or pejorative. Many might appreciate an island song for its surface meaning, not realizing those who understand the kaona get a different meaning from the metaphorical words. Some...