Looking for an authentic experience on your next Hawaii vacation? Hawaii has one of the most vibrant cultures in the world, blending age-old traditions with modern takes for a beautiful blend of old and new. And it’s so much fun to not just observe, but try them out for yourself.
Lei, with love
With our lei making sessions, it’s not just a lesson—it’s a story.
“While they are sewing,” says Luana Maitland, Outrigger Reef Waikiki Cultural Director, who has spent the past 20 years spreading aloha to visitors and locals (kamaaina) alike. “I also share that I was told that it was the men who first made the lei. Every morning the men had to go out to find provisions and would stumble on beautiful flowers, so would find vines and leaves and braid them … and purposely wear them around their necks because their hands were full of provisions. And they were gentle with the lei until they returned to the village and would gift it to their sweetheart or mama.”
“The best lei are given with love to someone else versus for yourself,” she adds. “When you’re done [making your lei], you tie it up in a circle of all your love.”
Tell your story with a hula
The ancient Polynesian art of storytelling through words and chants (of the oli or mele) in a visual dance form. Every hula is different based on the song being sung, but you can tell any story with hands and emotions—and, as Luana says, especially in your smile.
“Before I teach them the motion to hula, I share the meaning of the hula,” says Luana. “Once you teach them the song, it becomes their song.”
Discover Outrigger Reef Waikiki Beach Resort: https://www.outrigger.com/hotels-resorts/hawaii/oahu/outrigger-reef-waikiki-beach-resort