In our Western culture, most people dance at their weddings.
You know, the bride dances with her dad, and there’s the traditional “first dance,” where the bride dances with the groom.
Here in Hawaii, the bride dances for her groom. In previous posts when I’ve talked about the various contexts of hula, I haven’t yet mentioned this one: hula as a gift to someone. In this case, as the bride’s gift to her husband.
I’m not sure how or when this tradition got started, but it’s more or less expected at the majority of Hawaiian wedding receptions that the bride will dance a hula. Even if she was never much of a serious dancer — but absolutely a must if she ever was — a bride will select a love song and learn a dance just for the occasion.
Not only did I dance for The Coach at our wedding (twice, actually, because we had a second reception in California for our mainland friends and family), but I’ve also had the honor of choreographing and teaching a wedding hula to other brides.
You might think that it puts a certain stress on the poor bride, who has enough on her plate as it is, what with all the wedding planning stuff weighing her down, to have to be learning and practicing a whole hula in the weeks before the big event.
That’s true, but I can tell you as a bride, there’s no greater privilege on your wedding day than to dance for your husband. And as a guest, to watch love on display in a wedding hula is one of the most touching and lovely ways you will ever see hula performed.
Here’s an assignment for you: Go to YouTube and search on “wedding hula,” then watch two or three of the more than 2,000 videos that people have posted of brides dancing a special hula for their grooms.
Then try not to be moved to tears by this unique communication of love. I dare you.
This is the twenty-third post in my series, 31 Days of Life in my Hawaii. Click here to get the links to the other posts in the series.