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The Tiki Effect

What is it about this skillfully carved stone and wood figures that make collectors dedicatedly collect these trinkets for years and even sometimes for decades? What allure do tikis have?

In ancient times natives of Hawaii have all sort of gods or idols such as god of farming, god of fishing so on and so forth. They carved out stone or wood figures as a representation of these gods, which is now known as tiki.

Before the advent of Christianity in Hawaii, tikis were seen populating the temples or any places of worship. When missionaries started coming to the islands, tiki were sort of put by the wayside.

Beginning the golden age of the cruise ship era until the end of World War ll, many tourists came and U.S. servicemen were stationed in Hawaii. What they discovered was a tropical paradise. They brought home with them tales of white sand beaches, balmy breeze, palm trees and crystal blue waters. They also brought souvenirs and trinkets among them the tiki.

In the twist of cultural fate, the tiki invaded the U.S. or more specifically California. Americans embraced the Polynesian influence. Proofs of that are, the novel of James Michener “Tales Of The Pacific” became a bestseller and the broadway play “South Pacific” was a smash hit. Soon after, family rooms were renovated and converted into tiki bars. Bamboos, tiki idols, tiki mugs and all the trimmings that said ”Polynesian” bedecked the entire room.

Tiki themed bars, restaurants, motels, hair salons and bowling alleys mushroomed all over the U.S. “Polynesian Pop” is the term they dubbed that era of lounges and swizzle sticks. It is a conglomeration of American Kitsch and authentic art from the south pacific. They also claimed it as a form of suburban rebellion and art movement.

Smoking cocktails ( courtesy of dry ice), rum concoctions with fruits like mango, pineapple, papaya and with such whimsical names as Suffering Bastard, Singapore Sling, Mai Tai etc. were considered an art form. The whole scene meant fun, excitement and parties!

The trend fizzled out in the mid seventies. Many commercial establishments with tiki motif were closed and contents sold.

Today, decades later the tiki craze enjoyed a second wave of popularity. This time by a new generation of tiki memorabilia fans. Flea markets and thrift shops were scoured just to find tiki related items. There are conventions, online forums and other types of powwow held by tikiphiles.

So what’s the hoopla all about then and now? For the fans of tiki, it meant a taste of the tropics , an exotic paradise, away from all the cares of the world. It’s about escapism. It’s about soaking up the ambience of modern day tropical delight, of having fun and excitement and lose yourself in another world.

Nothing can better encapsulate the Hawaiin fascination and magic of the exotic tropics than having it right out of your own home.

So what are you waiting for tikiphiles? Get the island ‘feel’ and atmosphere by building a tiki hut bar anywhere in your house, backyard or poolside. Pull out your tiki totem poles, tiki mugs and masks, hula girl lamps and backscratchers for that tropical itch. Surround it with bamboo, rattan and palm fronds. Dust off your surfboard and canoe paddles and display it prominently in your tiki bar.

The whole concept of a tiki bar is to cram up the place. Clutter is the aim. You can gaze upon something new all the time.

Don your brightest orange Hawaiin shirt, invite friends and neighbors over, crank up the blender and let the good times roll!

Submitted by:

Jovita Orais

Jovita Orais is a tiki enthusiast. If you have a favorite thing it is more than likely, a lot of people collect it too. To find out other collectible items visit http://www.hobby-collecting.blogspot.com




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