How Did the Hula Hoop Get Its Name?
The hula hoop has been around for a long, long time. According to author Charles Panati, there was a “craze” of using wooden and metal hoops in 14th-century England.
He reports that doctors treated patients suffering from pain and dislocated backs due to hooping − and heart failure was even attributed to it. Panati also says that the name “hula” came from the Hawaiian dance in the 18th century, due to the similar hip movements.
In the 1800s, British sailors first witnessed hula dancing in the Hawaiian Islands. The sailors noticed that the body movements of hula dancing and hooping looked quite similar, and the name “hula hoop” was born.
The hula hoop has undergone many changes, improvements, and modifications over the years. Hula hoops were not always made of plastic. Older hoops were made from various materials, including metal, bamboo, wood, grass, and sometimes even vines.
Native American Hoop Dance is a form of storytelling dance incorporating anywhere from one to thirty hoops as props. These props are used to create both static and dynamic shapes, which represent various animals, symbols, and storytelling elements. The dance is generally performed by a solo dancer with multiple hoops.
Before it was known and recognized as the common colorful plastic toy (sometimes with water inside the actual hoop), the traditional “hula hoop” used to be made of dried up willow, rattan, grapevines, or stiff grasses. Even though they have existed for thousands of years, they are often misunderstood as having been invented in the 1950s.