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Traditional Polynesian dancers performing near Waikiki beach, on Oahu.

The culture of Hawaii has its origins in the traditional culture of the Native Hawaiians. As Hawaii has become a home to many different ethnic groups in the last 200 years, each ethnic group has added elements of its own culture to local life. Today, contemporary culture in Hawaii is a mix of the different cultures and ethnic groups that make up its unique population.


Visual art and culture in Hawaii

Kamehameha the Great wearing his royal feather cape over western clothes

In museums in Hawaii today, there are relics from Kamehameha I's reign. Notably, there are feather cloaks. Historically, red was a color of holy, innate power, and yellow was a color of secular, political power. During Kamehameha I's reign, as Kamehameha proceeded to conquer and unite most of what is now Hawaii, yellow came to replace red as the more desirable color. [citation needed]

Traditional Hawaiian religion

Ho'oponopono (ho-o-pono-pono) is an ancient Hawaiian practice of reconciliation and forgiveness, combined with prayer. Similar forgiveness practices were performed on islands throughout the South Pacific, including Samoa, Tahiti and New Zealand. Traditionally hoʻoponopono is practiced by healing priests or kahuna lapaʻau among family members of a person who is physically ill. Modern versions are performed within the family by a family elder, or by the individual alone.

Lono - god of agriculture and providence

- god of war, symbol of Kamehameha

Kāne - god of man

Kanaloa - god of the ocean.

Aumakua - family totems

Oppression and Post-contact Hawaii

The Hawaiian Culture was discouraged and even banned by Calvinists Missionaries, beginning in 1819 with the end of the Kapu system of law by Queen Ka'ahumanu. Two resurgences occurred, the First Hawaiian Renaissance in from 1875 to 1887 during the Reign of King David Kalākaua I, considered the savior of Hula and Hawaiian Culture. After the missionary descendents took power in 1887 Hawaiian culture was once again under repression, for example the Hawaiian Language was outlawed in 1896. During the territorial era and the beginning of traveling, the Hawaiian Culture became appealing to tourists and was somewhat encouraged. Beginning in the 1960’s then gaining momentum in the 1970’s the second resurgence known as the Second Hawaiian Renaissance occurred. Lasting until the 1980s, it once again instilled national pride in Hawaiians*. In 1993 on the 100th anniversary of the Overthrow of the Hawaiian Kingdom a mass protest occurred at the State Capital. Following this, President Bill Clinton signed the Apology Resolution, bringing an end to the oppression of Hawaiian Culture.

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