If you've ever noticed a hand gesture where the person extends their thumb and pinky finger, and tucks their middle fingers in, then you have seen the Shaka. It is a signal to greet someone, or just to say "What's Up?". It's origins come from Hawaii, and it dates back to the early 20th century. The story that I have been told is that there was a guard on a sugar plantation on Oahu that had lost his middle fingers in a mill accident. When kids would try to steal sugar cane, he would yell and wave his hand at them. Of course having only the 2 outer fingers, it was a very distinct wave. The kids adopted the hand gesture of tucking in their middle fingers to look like the guard's hand to signal to each other that the guard was nearby. Ever since then, it has been used on the islands. Surfers use it quite frequently as well, as Hawaii has some of the best surf in the world. This has spread the Shaka worldwide. So if you see someone give you a Shaka, don't be offended, just Shaka them back!
Poi, pronounced P-O-Y, is a staple of traditional Hawaiian cuisine. It is made from the root of the Taro plant, a native plant of the Hawaiian Islands, as well as other islands of the south Pacific. The root is pounded into a paste, and generally served with other Hawaiian foods such as kalua pork or lomi salmon. If you attend a luau, you will most certainly have an opportunity to try some poi out for yourself. It is purple in color, which initially makes visitors a little stand offish. The taste though, at least in my opinion, and from several others that I have conversed with, is pretty bland. But again, it is for the most part to be enjoyed with other main courses. So if you have a trip planned to the islands, make sure you try some Poi!
It’s all in the shoes. Flip flops are welcome almost everywhere and is a big indicator if you are a tourist or local.
Be nice and slow down.
Some Hawaiians can be touchy towards the lighter skinned U.S. “Mainlanders.”
Fortunately, we were in Maui during the month of January, which is a good time for seeing the whales.
The best place to learn about the whales is at the Island Marine Institute.
Every year from mid-December through mid-May, the humpback whales make Maui waters their home. These whales migrate almost 3,500 miles from their Alaskan summer feeding waters. Because of Maui's warm waters, this is where they have their calves.
The Island Marine Institute does research each winter/spring season on the humpback whales. They have whale watch vessels, which they combine the resources of a successful commercial operation with the needs of the marine research team.
You can go aboard one of their whale watch vessels to see the whales.
The Photograph is of the Captain of the Whale Watch Boat Giving the "Hang Loose" Sign.
They are located at: 658 Front Street, #101
Lahaina, Maui, Hawaii 96761
The History Channel aired a great two-hour program called Conquest of Hawaii recently (Oct., 2003). If you missed it, you can buy it on their website. I thought it was thorough and quite interesting. Some segments were graphic (in their descriptions, not on the screen) with the brutal history of these people. I only noticed one small misrepresentation. Someone well-studied in Hawaiian history and culture may find more.
Some people just take a holiday to relax, some to do things and some to see things but the british usually expect people to adjust to them.
Personally (and I know of many VT'ers with the same mindset) I like to become somewhat "local" when I travel. This means learning the language and customs and actually meeting people.
Well this is Jamie who I met in Waikiki, if you see her give her a wave from me.
The frame is cheap but the subjects high quality!
The practice of greeting people with flower Leis on arrival in Hawaii is well known but no longer a standard practice. There are however many companies who will gladly await your arival and greet you and your partner with a leis of your choice for a very reasonable price. If this is your first time here you can't miss out on this show of affection. The people of the island use these leis for many things, you should give a leis with the warmest "Aloha"
Here is a traditional flower lei being giving at the Honolulu Int'l Airport. Unfortunately, everyone flying to Hawaii does not automatically receive such a lei, unless you are being met by a host family or part of a tour group. Leis are given at many different occasions around the islands ... birthdays, graduations, arrivals, departures, retirements, weddings etc ... anytime you wish to show aloha for any special occasion, giving a flower lei (or any other type for that matter) will not be out of place!
I think it is wonderful to see how the local Hawaiian people love to perform for us tourist , it looked to me that they put a lot of effort in their performances, and really wanted us to have a good time.
This picture is a good example of that.
It was a great show .
Ancient Kahunas memorized the Kumulipo and recited it at important festivals, etc. the Kumulipo is a chant that tells about the Earth Mother, the Sky Father, gods and demi gods and the creation of the Hawaiian Islands and her people.
The Maori of New Zealand have a similar chant called Wharewananga. Tahiti, the Marquesas, the Tuamotus, and Easter Islands also contain similar recitals.
The Kumulipo is divided into two parts. The first called Po is about the age of the spirit world and the origin of animals. The second part called Ao starts with the coming of light and of the gods who supervised the changing of animals into humans.
There are many items used while dancing various hulas. Pictured here is one commonly called the pu 'ili. These are made of split bamboo, and is used individually or in a pair by tapping each one together or by tapping it on the dancers' shoulders or body. These too, make an inexpensive souvenir.
Hula is performed on many levels, guys and gals alike. Originally, it was the men that did the dancing, though now you will see more women performers. Many of the performers will use implements while dancing. Pictured here are what is called uli uli, which is a small seed filled gourd rattle that are generally decorated with red and yellow feathers. These, by the way, make wonderful souvenirs too.
Most locals appreciate you leaving your shoes at the front door before you walk inside. A neat phrase I've seen is along the lines of "Eh, take your shoes off before you enter, but no leave with better ones!" ... so true, be sure you're taking your own shoes home when you leave. My sister will testify to being the last to leave and having to wear a mis-matched pair of slippers home because they were the only ones left!
This is not a custom per se, but an old strategic game the Hawaiians used to play which is similar to our checkers in some ways. This was generally played during makahiki. You would use black lava rock and perhaps white coral. The object is to get rid of as many of your opponents rocks, yet the winner is determined by WHO makes the last legal move. Here, you see the "board" is a pitted rock. The number of pits per board varied from 64 through sometimes as many as 250.
Originally performed only by men, the hula was reserved for sacred rituals. It was first conceived to thank the gods, to celebrate good fortune, and to pay respect to the ali'i (Hawaiian chiefs.) Kuma Hulas ( masters of the hula) were considered sacred persons inspired by the gods.
Until the missionaries came to Hawaii, there was no written language . Thus mele and hula were passed on from generation to generation by memorization.
Mele is the song. It can be a chanted monotone called oli, or it can be a dance interpreting the words of the song (hula.)
Upon arrival to the Halekulani you are greeted at the desk and assigned a staff member to tour you...more
The hotel room I had, had a balcony. When I looked to the right, I had a view to the ocean.more
2417 Prince Edward Street, Honolulu, Hawaii, 96815, United States
Good for: Business