Local traditions and culture in Hilo

  • Local Customs
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    Hibiscus
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    Flower necklace
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Most Viewed Local Customs in Hilo

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    Pidgeon Talk

    by triplehelix Written Oct 25, 2005

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    Eh bra, whatcu like hah? You no stay looken at me ah? No talk la'dat to me I gon poun you out!

    Translation: Sir, what do you want? Are you looking at me? Do not speak that way to me or I will get physical with you. (you can laugh now!! i know i am!!)

    I guess you could say its a language in in it of its self. Pidgeon can be very confusing to anyone who visits the state as it is unique to only Hawaii. Sure, many other places have their own version of broken English (Ebonics for example). Again, this goes back to sugar plantation days. Imagine you're from Japan (or maybe you are who knows!) and you've just arrived in a camp with other Japanese servants. Over on the otherside you see a camp full of Fillipinos and on the other, Portugese. Many times, you would need to communicate with them and of course, you don't understand them. The servants made up a way to communicate in the form of this broken English we now know as Pidgeon (because it sounds like birds attempting to talk.). Unfortunately, many youth here only know to speak that way and come off as very unprofessional when they begin to work. It is discouraged in the school system because it contributes to rediculously low IQs and adds to a steriotype.

    Anyway, if you want to learn some words, here they are below:
    Bruddah/Brah - Brother/Bro
    Sistah - Sister
    Madda/Fadda - Mother/Father
    I no like dat - I don't like that/it
    I goin poun you out cuz - I'm going to put a hurting on you
    my slippah stay broke - My flip flops are broken
    ho brah, dis poi is ono cuz! - Wow! This taro paste is tasty!

    HAHAHAHA this is too funny, hope you enjoyed this crash course!

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    Footwear Fear

    by triplehelix Written Oct 25, 2005

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    OK, local's do not fear footwear hahaha. However, it is considered very very very rude and offensive to enter a local's home with your shoes on. Why? Because it's dirty and nasty! We don't know what you stepped in and carpet cleaning is expensive nowadays. No... but seriously it's deeper than that. Hawaii is deeply rooted in Japanese culture and tradition. During the sugar plantation days in the 1800's, many immigrants were brought over and indented themselves to wealthy European men. These immigrants came from Korea, China, The Phillippines, Japan, Portugal, and the Azores Islands. They were promised rich and weathly lives due to the popularity of Hawaiian sugar in those days. Instead, many of them ended up working their whole lives and in the process indenting their children who also worked most of their lives. It wasn't until the early 1900's when the American influence truely took over (thank goodness!!) when the legal slavery slowed down. Many immigrants had nothing left to go back home and were better off staying thus settling and having families. To this day, many traditions still stick and is how we have our "chop suey" culture. Leaving your footwear outside would be wise and respectful.

    Leave footwear outside before entering
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    Shaka Bruddah

    by triplehelix Written Oct 25, 2005

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    Wha?? What's that hand/thumb/pinky thing they're doing??? Don't be scared! It's just a local (not necessarily Hawaiian in origin) greeting we call, shaka! Many of our local customs came from the sugar plantation days. This was a way for immigrants to signal to each other that the day had come to an end (or so I was told). Now, it just means a friendly greeting... a physical form of aloha!

    Shaka Bra!!
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    Available or not?

    by kyoub Written Apr 16, 2009

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    The custom of placing a flower behind your ear is a great one. It is much easier to see a flower than a ring finger. It is very important to note which ear it is placed. If it's behind the left ear, it means the girl is married or involved. If it's behind her right ear, this means she is unattached.

    I was always forgetting which was which until someone said "A good way to remember is that the left is also the hand you wear a wedding ring on. " Good point!

    Hibiscus
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    Flower necklace

    by kyoub Written Apr 16, 2009

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    Leis are a very popular custom in the islands. They are given upon arrival and for many other occasions such as birthdays, graduation, showers, and weddings. Any one can wear a Lei.
    One night after we had finished dinner, a lady came in the restaurant selling leis.
    That was where I got my first flower necklace.
    Another time there was one waiting for me upon our arrival at a rental house.
    They do make you feel very special.

    Flower necklace Happy with my lei
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    Chinese New Year

    by rexvaughan Written Mar 13, 2005

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    I was aware that there is a significant number of people in Hawaii of Chinese background but was surprised to find a Chinese New Year festival in Hilo in early February. The parade was not large, but was quite colorful and loud as there were numerous strings of firecrackers set off. In addition to the colorful parade, including the dragons in the photo, there was a festival in Kalakaua Park. I think the Chinese New Year was in reality an excuse for a festival because most of the entertainment on stage was Hawaiian including a really good band and some senior citizen hula dancers. Doesn't sound great but they knew what they were doing and while maybe not as sexy as grass skirted young women, they were very entertaining.

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    Kukui Necklaces

    by cjg1 Written Mar 7, 2013

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    The Kukui nut lei is made from the Kukui Nut Tree.The Kukui Nut Tree is also known as the Candlenut Tree and in ancient Hawai’i the nuts were burned to provide light and the oil also has many cooking and medicinal uses. The nuts are used also in necklaces (leis) and bracelets. The colors of the nuts can be black, brown or white and often painted with decorative colors.

    The meaning of kukui is a symbol of enlightenment, protection and peace. During our travels to Hawaii my wife has bought several Kukui nut leis for herself, friends and family; it makes a great souvenir gift.

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  • kyoub's Profile Photo

    Kukui nut oil

    by kyoub Updated Apr 4, 2011

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    The Kukui nut tree is the official state tree of Hawaii.
    For centuries Hawaiians have used the oil from the Kukui nut tree to relieve and protect their skin from the salt water and drying winds on the islands.
    They are now making skin products for retail.

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  • KiNyA's Profile Photo

    Banyan Drive in Hilo has been...

    by KiNyA Written Aug 25, 2002

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    Banyan Drive in Hilo has been referred to as ''Hilo's Living Wall of Fame'' in deference to the corridor of huge old Banyan trees planted by celebrities in the early 1930s. See names like Babe Ruth, Cecil B. DeMille, etc., who planted the massive 46 banyan trees. The best time to photograph them is in early morning.

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  • Hilo is small town and...

    by mamamarlin Written Aug 24, 2002

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    Hilo is small town and friendly - always give out smiles and 'talk-story' with the locals. Be sensitive to Hawaiian sites and respect the aina (land) which is most important to the Hawaiian people. There are many ethnic groups here and if you have a problem with mixed races you will not be comfortable here.

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    gecko lizards

    by Kodi01 Updated Jun 24, 2003

    Gecko lizards are everywhere in Hawaii.

    So much that it seems to be a 'motto' for many of the tee shirts you can buy. The gecko is even a brand of clothing there.

    This one was on the balcony of the room we rented. They are harmless to humans I believe.

    hawaiin gecko lizard
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Hilo Local Customs

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