Local traditions and culture in Kauai

  • hula show at Coconut Marketplace
    hula show at Coconut Marketplace
    by mindcrime
  • hula dance
    hula dance
    by mindcrime
  • Kevin and Julie
    Kevin and Julie
    by Travel2write

Most Viewed Local Customs in Kauai

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    Hula shows

    by mindcrime Updated Dec 10, 2010

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    Sooner or later you will see a hula show around. In Kaua’i you wont find it everywhere like in Waikiki(Oahu) but there are specific places that have performances every week. We watched one at Coconut Marketplace on the east side, near Kapaa. In October they had one every Wednesday at 17.00 at the center stage in the middle of the marketplace.

    The show was for free and lasted one hour. The singer Leilani Rivera Bond has many releases on cd and she dire and musician played popular Hawaiian songs (I have already hear them before except some originals of the singer who also played the ukelele) and the dancers gave a nice show, they were students following their teacher which was the leader dancer. see my video here.

    Hula dance is a unique dance and although the people confused it with the Tahitian dance (which is basically focused on swaying hips) the hula dance is more an expression of the hands. Its roots goes back to ancient Hawaii when they used hands to express feelings and tell stories and legends because they didn’t have a written language. Of course the green shirts is just a stereotypical image we have from the Hollywood movies so they keep wearing these :)

    Other locations for free hula shows:
    Seaview Terrace at Hyatt Regency Resort & Spa, Poipu, 18.00-20.00 Tel:(808) 742-1234 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting              (808) 742-1234      end_of_the_skype_highlighting
    Kukui's Restaurant at Kauai Marriott Resort & Beach Club, Lihue(Kalapaki Bay), Wednesday & Saturday, 18.30-20. tel:(808) 245-5050
    Happy Talk Lounge at Hanalei Bay Resort, Princeville, Tuesdays 18.30–21.30 tel:(808) 826-6522. They also have live jazz gigs on Sunday afternoons.

    hula dance hula show at Coconut Marketplace
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    Flower Leis

    by keida84 Updated May 19, 2005

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    On my very first trip to Hawaii, I was told by an native Hawaiian (and there are not that many true native Hawaiians left these days) if you want to ensure a safe return back to the islands, when you leave to toss your lei, but remove the petals first from the string that holds them so no harm comes to the wildlife.

    Each of the Hawaiian Islands has their own color and flower. Kauai's island color is: Purple and the flower is the: Mokihina (this is actually a fruit but it is strung into leis)

    Well now after countless visits back to the Islands of Hawaii I make sure that when we arrive everyone gets a lei and that upon our departure we toss the flower petals into the ocean and thank the spirits of the islands for their hospitality.

    Lei'ed Again!

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    Bridge Crossing Ettiquette

    by keida84 Updated Jun 4, 2006

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    On Kauai the roads are narrow and at times they come down to one lane especially when crossing bridges. With this in mind here are some generally accepted "bridge rules."

    Upon approaching a bridge check to see how many cars are lined up on the other side of the bridge. If there is more than 2 car lengths between you and a car ahead of you then you should stop and let the other side pass through. It is generally "known" to allow 3 to 5 cars pass through but when in doubt....defer.

    Kauai sunset
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    Don't take the dogs

    by Andraf Updated Dec 5, 2003

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    We were wandering in the tropical forest in Kauai trying to find the trail and we saw quite a few signs with the following message "Please don't take the dogs. They are not strays. Their owners will come to pick them up". Just when we were wondering what they meant with those signs, the brown dog in the picture showed up. We played with it for a while, it was a cute dog and I understood why they had to put up the signs. Lots of people would be tempted to take these dogs home. The dog left at some point and we continued on the trail. When we came back from our hike late in the afternoon, we did see a pickup truck full of dogs, so their owners did come back for them at the end of the day. I don't know if this custom is specific to Kauai, it was the first time I'd seen something like this.

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    Taro - Staple in Hawaiian Diet and Culture

    by karenincalifornia Written Feb 3, 2004

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    What is Taro?

    Taro is a root crop grown in Kauai that in the past was a staple of the Hawaiian diet. Used to make poi, it is extremely nutritional, containing fibre, calcium, potassium, iron, vitamin A, vitamin B1, vitamin B2, and vitamin C. In the Hawaiian tradition, arguments are not permitted when a bowl of poi is placed on the dinner table. Often a poi bowl was uncovered to end family disputes. To this day, taro is symbolic of Hawaiian heritage.

    I didn't try poi, but I did consume bags of taro chips while I was in Kauai. Delicious! (You can now find taro chips in California - I don't know about the other states.)

    Most of the taro fields are now heavily subsidized by the Hawaiin government due to lack of sufficient demand to make taro farming economical. Without the subsidy, production of this important Hawaiin crop would probably cease.

    Taro fields next to Hanalei River, Kauai
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    Sacred Heiau

    by Andraf Updated Jul 3, 2004

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    The heiau is a Hawaiian temple, a structure built from lava rocks used for religious purposes. They had a rectangular outer wall inside which the structure was built. Today only the outer walls still exists. The ceremonies within the heiau were conducted by priests named kahuna. In some heiau human sacrifices were made, in others people offered gods things like fish and fruits hoping that the gods will help them.

    The Holoholo-ku Heiau

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    Learn some Hawaiian

    by cyndyj1 Updated Apr 4, 2011

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    Hawaiian is very simple - it has only a few letters and pronunciation is always the same - every vowel is pronounced, even when two are together (just do a minor glottal stop between them).

    Mahalo - thank you (Mah-hah-lo with a long "o")
    Kokua - help
    Pua - flower
    Ono - delicious
    Pali - cliff (hence Na Pali = "the cliffs". Pronounced like Nah Polly)

    Etc. Just making a small amount of effort will pay off in the friendliness of people around you and in your understanding of signs, names, menus, etc.

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    Handmade Hawaiian Pride

    by GlobalMatt Written Jan 18, 2004

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    This chandelier made entirely of shells survived a huge storm in the late 90's. The hotel staff said it was the only thing that wasn't damaged from the storm. Legend has it that using the shells will protect the property from total destruction. Anyway, I was fascinated by the chandelier...regardless of the legend.

    Puka shell chandelier

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    Island time

    by Travel2write Updated Oct 19, 2008

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    For the typical mainlander, you may have a difficulty in slowing down. The common hussle and fast service that modern society on the mailand doesn't exist here on the island. So remember when you arrive in Hawaii, things are slower. Service isn't fast, it's good! So slow down, don't rush people, the service and just enjoy the experience.

    Kevin and Julie
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    Hitch hikers

    by sissah Written Oct 28, 2004

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    Hitch hiking on Kauai is all over the place. You'll see everyone from old men to young girls with children standing with a thumb out. We picked up hikers the whole time we were there, and judging by the amount who do it, I think it's a pretty safe thing to do. We picked up some of the greatest tips about where to go, what to do, where to eat and good new music to check out just by talking to the folks we were giving a 10-minute lift to. While you always need to use common sense picking up strangers, in a place where it's culturally excepted, it usually is because they don't have any problems with it. We were glad to meet our friendly strangers (and advice-givers!)

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    Hawaiian Luau Shows

    by AliasGirl Updated Apr 4, 2011

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    Hyatt Regency's 'Drums of Paradise' is a MUST event if you are visiting the island of Kauai. This authentic cultural event is designed to present a fun filled evening with Polynesian entertainment.

    First, you hear the live music, then you see the torches are burning bright, and then you smell the wonderful International food.

    The preparations for this luau started long before you even dipped your toes into the warm pool this morning. The Polynesians take these preparations very serious -especially for the Imu Ceremony and the traditional pig. A large pit is dug in the sand. Kiawe logs are placed in the bottom of the pit and topped with river rocks. They start the fire and after a few hours..the bottom of the pit is quite hot. The rocks are evenly spread out and moist banana stalks are placed on top. Then banana leaves are placed into the pit to wrap the pig. The Polynesians place wet burlap bags on the top to keep the steam and heat in. The pit is then officially covered and after 8 hours of steaming the feast is ready to begin.

    You can watch the Imu Ceremony which is the tradition of unearthing of the pig. The mai tais will flow as well as several other drinks. The feast is open to everyone in attendance. The announcer calls each table to go one at a time through the Polynesian Luau Buffet. Don't worry there is plenty food for all. Try the poi, although we didn't like it, you should try all of the unfamiliar dishes to get the entire experience.

    After dinner and dessert, the conch shells will be blown to signal the beginning of the next phase - the entertainment portion. All of the different types of dances and dancers make this a spectacular night. You will be so enchanted with the fire dancers. Becareful or the hula girls may come and get YOU for the stage show.

    Drums of Paradise Phamplet
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    Try an authentic luau

    by GlobalMatt Written Oct 10, 2006

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    You think a hogroast is good? Try an authentic polynesian luau. The pig is slowly smoked in the ground all day. It is removed from the ground, cleaned, & prepared for the grand feast. There are many luaus to choose from on Kaua'i...all of which are very similar in price. This being said, do the luau at the Grand Hyatt. You won't regret it. Lots of fun!!!

    Pig after being removed from ground - luau - 2006 Cleaning of the pig at the luau - Kaua'i - 2006 A typical plate from the luau feast - delicious!!
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    Is unique ...

    by venteeocho Updated Aug 16, 2005

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    Hawaiian culture is unique in the world. On Kauai, it's as easy to discover cultural sites that have existed for hundreds of years as it is examples of how Hawaiian culture is perpetuated by the Hawaiian people today.
    A tour of historic cultural sites and museums is one way to experience the essence of what makes Hawaii, Hawaii.

    Ke ahu a laka Heiau
    Located on a terrace above the boulder, this is a heiau that was part of a famous hula school in the area. Chanters came to receive the most advanced training possible. To test their skills, they walked across the smooth boulders at the edge of the sea and chanted their mele (chant). If their voices could be heard above the sounds of the waves and the wind, then their training was completed. Students are still brought here to test their skills.

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  • Kalalau Valley-end of trail

    by Hawaii-5-0 Written Aug 31, 2002

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    At the end of the trail is Kalalau Valley; A huge wide open sweeping valley with a huge waterfall tucked deep in the valley.You can rest and relax after making the 11 mile hike.If you enjoy solitude and meditation, listen to the surf, listen to the land and listen to the walls of the valley. They will speak to you.It is truely a spiritual/religious experience. You will leave the valley a different person and the 11 mile trip out will seem much shorter.

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  • Sacred Ground

    by Hawaii-5-0 Updated Aug 31, 2002

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    Hawaiians still consider Kalalau and the Na Pali coast as sacred ground.There are many heiau's (sacred place of worship),ancient archeological sites, and burial sites for the many people who onced lived and farmed in the Kalalau valley's.
    Heiau's are to be treated with the utmost respect.
    Do not disturb any bones or take any artifacts as souveniers.

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