An examination of the emergence and continued growth of hula among Protestant Christian communities in Hawaii
St Paul, Minnesota
"The following paper presents an examination of the emergence and continued growth of hula amongst Protestant Christian communities When missionaries first arrived in the Hawaiian Islands, they banned the use of hula. Since the missionaries prohibited the locals from participating in one of the most important aspects of Hawaiian culture, the Hawaiians disagreed with the missionaries. When the royalty started to convert to Christianity and support the missionaries' opposition against hula, ancient hula traditions began to dissolve. While some hula masters strove to keep the tradition alive, most of the hula disappeared or evolved into a form of hula with the function of entertaining tourists. However, other religious groups began encouraging the use of hula. The Church of Jesus Christ of the Latter Day Saints was one of the first religious groups to facilitate hula training amongst their members. Some of the teachers of these groups were new Mormon converts who were prominent kumu hulas. Rather than replace the original religious aspects of the hula tradition, the converts of Mormon religion removed the aspects. Contrastingly, when the Christians started using hula in their religious settings, they replaced the ancient religious aspects with Christian rituals like prayer to God. Additionally, the researcher took an in-depth look at a particular Christian halau on Maui to discover the origin and evolution of the halau into its current state. By closely examining this halau and others, the researcher found some differences between non-Christian and Christian hula. While the visible differences included the style and song selections, the primary differences between Christian and non-Christian hula revolved around the focus of the dance and the dancer's heart."