Hawaii’s first hula event of the year will not only display graceful dance and beautiful music. This year, the festival at the Polynesian Culture Center will include tips on how to cook foods of the islands. Cooking demonstrations will be offered twice a day as an ongoing event.

Chefs will show PCC guests how to prepare an assortment of foods such as Laulau and taro and sweet potato chips. The lessons are aimed at cooks of all levels, and will work in modern kitchens: organizers promise you won’t need an imu (underground oven). The launch of the cooking demonstrations will be January 15, in conjunction with the 21st Annual Moanikeala Hula Festival at the Center on Oahu. Unlike the later Merrie Monarch hula competition, this is an exhibition. Hula schools, called halau, from Hawaii and Japan participate. The event began as an opportunity for keiki (children) to perform hula, but now welcomes participants of all ages.

The hula festival aims to preserve tradition and to honor the memory of PCC’s first hula master Aunty Sally Moanikeala Wood Naluai. “Aunty Sally was an amazing kumu hula who touched the hearts of many, not only in Hawaii, but throughout Polynesia, the Pacific and the world,” said Ellen Gay Dela Rosa, PCC’s theater director and Aunty Sally’s niece. “Her legacy lives on through the kupuna (elders) and keiki who grace the stage each year to perpetuate the Hawaiian culture.”

The hula festival is Saturday, Jan. 15, 2011, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. in PCC’s Pacific Theater. It is an annual event, so if you are not in Hawaii this January, put it on your calendar and include it in your Hawaii Vacation Package next year!

Photo credit: Polynesian Culture Center


  1. How cute! I think it's a great idea to participate and learn about Hawaiian culture. There are some great places on the islands where you can take classes and learn more about the rich culture.

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