Watching graceful hula dancers is one of my favorite activities during visits to Honolulu on the island of Oahu, Hawaii. Many nights during the week you can watch a hula show for free at Kuhio Beach Hula Mound on Waikiki Beach. Located just east of the famous Duke Kahanamoku statue, you won’t miss the crowds filling in just before show time. The Hawaiian hula is a living record of the island’s history and legends of the Hawaiian people. The dancers’ movements, music and chanting combine to tell the stories of their forefathers.
The show starts after the tiki torch lighting which adds to the festive atmosphere. The outdoor shows feature local hula dancers ranging from novice keiki (children) to aunties (adults). I like to go to the show multiple nights to watch different halau (dance groups) perform. Each group has its own repertoire of songs, costumes and instruments.
If you are anywhere along the beach, you will know the show is about to begin when you hear the traditional blowing of the conch shell. Sometimes a torch lighter joins them as they make their way along the beach. This alerts vacationers to get their spot so as not to miss the start of the show. Bring a beach chair or pick up an inexpensive beach mat from any of the local quick marts and grab a spot near the mound.
Usually a narrator will introduce the history of Hawaiian culture and language to the group. Before the dancers begin, you will learn about each song’s message and the story it tells.
These dancers may wear traditional hula attire or more modern dress. To make the time-honored hula skirts, the dancers harvest and treat the long flat leaves of the green ti plant. Colorful tropical flowers are fashioned into beautiful, fragrant leis. A variety of nuts grown in the islands are strung together as necklaces.
Dancers share the mound with vocalists who chant and sing the traditional stories. Musicians join in with their mix of modern and traditional instruments to make each tale come alive. The large drums made of gourds or tree trunks have a full sound which carries along the beach.
Weather-permitting, you can catch these hula shows Tues., Thurs. and Sat. at 6:30-7:30 p.m. (6:00-7:00 Nov.-Jan). These hula shows are one of my favorite stops on trips to Waikiki. Check out these shows often to learn more about the people and culture of the Hawaiian island. Aloha…
In this episode of “Where Are You Today” we visit David Bailey of Bailey’s Antiques and Aloha Shirts.
A few years ago while in Honolulu, Hawaii, we walked down Kapahulu Street and spotted a unique store. Located just outside Waikiki is Bailey’s Antiques and Aloha Shirts. Although it started as an antique store, Bailey’s primary business is the barter and sale of Aloha shirts. The store is packed with over 15,000 Aloha shirts priced from under $10 to thousands of dollars. Most shirts are vintage new while others are new.
Shirts are the focal point in this store. You will find other Hawaiian related items like books, drinking glasses and jewelry at the store. The selection changes daily. If you find something you like, take it home because it may not be there on your next visit.
Bailey’s will help you if you have a special request for a specific shirt. They will keep an eye out for your desired color, pattern and style then send you photos of shirts that come into the store.
We talked with David Bailey’s about the origin of Aloha shirts and his unique store. Did you know these shirts were created by a kimono maker?
Click on the image below to view this episode of “Where Are You Today?”
Looking for a great way to spend an afternoon in Honolulu? Stop by the Honolulu Zoo just a block away from world famous Waikiki Beach. This jewel in the Waikiki neighborhood is just the right size for a few hours of leisurely strolling.
Elephant at Honolulu Zoo Hawaii
When you walk into the park, the first exhibit you’ll see is the scarlet flamingos. Did you know they are pink because of the seafood they eat?
This is one of the few places you’ll be sure to see the native Nene birds. Other favorite exhibits I make sure not to miss include the Galapagos tortoise, monkeys, orangutan and African elephants.