Saturday, April 30, 2011

Keiki Hula on Waikiki

Baby banana plants, the never-ending staple of the Polynesian diet, are called "keikis" (kay-keys). Young children are also called keikis, since the youth represent the perpetuation of Hawaiian culture.

Kids join their local hula halau (group) about as soon as they can walk, and many stay in the group of 50 years or more, teaching their skills to each new generation. The dancing and chants of the hula tell the stories of the Hawaiian people and places, a history that preserved without the written word until the missionaries came in the late 1700s. Dancers often make their own dresses and weave leis from plants from the forest (these are plumeria).