Local traditions and culture in Hawaii (State of)

  • Local Customs
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  • Local Customs
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  • Local Customs
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Most Viewed Local Customs in Hawaii (State of)

  • deecat's Profile Photo

    Whale Watching is a "Must" on Maui

    by deecat Updated Jun 4, 2005

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    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

    Whale Watch Captain giving the
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  • Waalewiener's Profile Photo

    I think the Hawaiian locals love to perform for us

    by Waalewiener Updated Mar 8, 2003

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    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 .

    Beautiful lady , beautiful long hair.
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  • joiwatani's Profile Photo

    Wearing of the leis

    by joiwatani Written May 9, 2009

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    Special occasions like birthdays, weddings, etc., the locals tend to dress up with their nice Aloha shirts and Mumu dresses with matching leis!

    The leis are made of Pikaki flowers and these are very expensive. They smell so good, too!

    The cheaper leis are made from plumeria.

    There are many flower stores in Hawaii that sells this leis and can be shipped anywhere in the world!

    The men usually wear those necklaces made of nutshells, black in color.

    Leis are also worn on graduation time. They give these to the graduates as gifts. The leis are sometimes made of wrapped candies and even made for dollar bills!

    My daughter Shelby wearing a pikaki lei My pikaki leis Shelby graduating from Aviation High School! Shelby and Rainier Shelby was finally done!
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  • joiwatani's Profile Photo

    Eat breadfruit!

    by joiwatani Written Oct 29, 2007

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    While walking down the Aloha Tower, a breadfruit just fell down in front of us! I was so glad the fruit didn't fall on my daughter's head. Sierra gladly picked up the fruit!

    Anyway, the breadfruit tree has huge leaves and has huge fruits. The local people gather them to eat. The riped fruits get bigger. The fruit is boiled and the meat of the fruit is eaten. We dipped the boiled fruit in sugar! It is high in calories and good carbohydrates.

    Sierra at the Aloha Tower picking up a breadfruit
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  • joiwatani's Profile Photo

    The Mumu Dress

    by joiwatani Written May 9, 2009

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    Most of the local women dress in Mumu - a very comfortable dress. Most of the designs of the dresses are the hibiscus flowers, palm trees, puka shells, sea turtles, etc.

    The dress is long with short sleeves. It is an easy cut dress that keeps the person cool the whole day long!

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  • TropicGirl77's Profile Photo

    Love and Aloha via Flower leis

    by TropicGirl77 Written Mar 11, 2003

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    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!

    Flower Leis
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  • joiwatani's Profile Photo

    The Slippahs (slippers)

    by joiwatani Written May 9, 2009

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    Most of the locals wear slippers even when they go downtown. It is a very casual thing to do. The residents don't bother to put on their shoes. They just slip on their slippahs and off they go!

    This is nice because the locals don't have to deal with the change of seasons! Most of the residents don't have foot problems either!

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  • TropicGirl77's Profile Photo

    Hula Implements ... Uli uli

    by TropicGirl77 Updated Jan 24, 2003

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    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.

    'Uli 'uli
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  • TropicGirl77's Profile Photo

    Another Hula implement - Pu 'ili

    by TropicGirl77 Updated Feb 6, 2003

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    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.

    Pu 'ili
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  • H-TownJourneyman's Profile Photo

    Shaka to me!

    by H-TownJourneyman Updated Jan 28, 2006

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    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!

    Hang Loose!

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  • TropicGirl77's Profile Photo

    Konane . . . A hawaiian game

    by TropicGirl77 Written Jan 5, 2003

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    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.

    Konane, an old Hawaiian game
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  • TropicGirl77's Profile Photo

    Leave your shoes at the door please

    by TropicGirl77 Written Jan 10, 2003

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    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!

    Please remove your shoes before entering

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  • joiwatani's Profile Photo

    The Pidgin English

    by joiwatani Written May 9, 2009

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    Most locals speak the Pidgin English so don't be surprise to hear those while you are taking the bus. There are many cultures and ethnic groups living in Hawaii and they surely changed the English language.

    Here are some of the words you might like to know:
    1. Where you went? (It means where are you going?)
    2. Brahdahs and sistahs -means brothers and sisters
    3. Pau Hana - Finished for the day
    4. Da kine - referring to something
    5. tita - referring to a female sister
    6. haole- Caucasian.
    7. No can- unable to
    8. Stink eye- Dirty eye
    7. try - means Please Example: Try wait?
    8. slippah - slippers
    9. no moa - no more
    10. Like beef? - You like to fight with me?
    11. Da cute - precious. Example: Oh her child is da cute!
    12. Howzit? - How are you?

    (P.S. My brain froze. I will add more later!)

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  • H-TownJourneyman's Profile Photo

    Need a snack, or a map, or a souvenir, or a.......

    by H-TownJourneyman Written Jan 28, 2006

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    ABC stores is THE chain of convenience stores in Hawaii. They pretty much have anything you could possibly want on earth that weighs less than 10 lbs. And they are everywhere, at least in the more urban areas of the islands. If for some odd reason you can't find that special Hawaiian souvenir, of that particular kind of soda, of that brand of sun block at one ABC store, chances are there will be another one right down the street, if not right across the street. This is the place to go if you need that small certain something in a hurry. Well, or the other one 1 block over! :)

    ABC Stores

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  • slaybelle's Profile Photo

    WANNA TRY A LUAU BUFFET?? ...

    by slaybelle Written Sep 12, 2002

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    WANNA TRY A LUAU BUFFET?? Well here you go :-)
    Let's Start With What You Will Need:

    A whole pig (125 pounds will feed up to 200 people if you're also serving a full lu‘au buffet).

    Enough banana stalks to line the bottom of the three- to five-foot-deep hole you'll dig, plus enough banana leaves to fully cover the pig.

    A shovel.

    Wood to build a fire in the bottom of the pit (koa or kiawe is recommended, but any wood will do).

    Kindling and matches.

    Enough smooth, dry rocks to line the bottom of the pit, plus three to five more to stuff inside the pig. The best rocks are round and dense (fine-grained), with no sharp corners to break off under heat stress. This type of rock will hold heat and is not susceptible to water absorption.

    Large, strong tongs.

    A table, planks on sawhorses, or other platform to put the pig on while you're preparing it (place it right next to the imu pit).

    Chicken wire to wrap the pig in (so you can carry it), plus a few wire ties.

    A heavy, wet canvas or burlap tarp to cover the pig.

    Enough sand for a six-inch-deep layer on top of the tarp.

    A large, shallow container, preferably with handles, for transferring the cooked pig to the kitchen. The container must be big enough to transport the entire cooked pig.

    A bowl of ice water to dip your hands in periodically as you shovel the tender, steaming meat off the pig.NOW LET'S GET DOWN TO COOKING IT

    1. Dig a pit. If you have both sand and a tarp you only need to go three feet deep. If you only have a tarp and/or have a large pig, dig a hole five feet.

    2. Kindle a fire in the bottom of the pit. (If you're using an old pit, clean out any rocks or refuse.)

    3. Once the fire gets going, add the wood and then the rocks. Note that if the rocks have retained any moisture, the water will expand and possibly shatter the rock, sending shards flying. Very dangerous.

    4. As the fire heats up, the rocks will turn from dark to white. Use this time to prepare the banana stalks. They should be cut into 2' to 4' lengths, then whacked with a heavy bar to split them. This is not easy work, so assign this job accordingly.

    5. Wet the tarp now, and re-wet the banana leaves if they've dried out. This is important, because it's the steam that cooks the pig.

    6. This is also a good time to prepare the pig. (Make sure you put the chicken wire down on the work table first.) Open up the armpits so hot rocks can be placed in each of the sockets. You should be able to fit 5 small or three large rocks in the pig. Keep track of how many rocks go in, so you know how many you need to remove later. Also, you may want to cut slits along the pig's neck, like gills, to make it easier to carry.

    7. When the rocks have all turned white, you're ready to cook. First, remove any remaining wood chunks from the fire pit to avoid scorching the pig.

    8. Next, arrange the rocks so they line the bottom of the pit. Take out the number of rocks you'll insert into the pig; knock the ash off of them.

    9. Make a bed of banana stalks on top of the rocks.

    10. Approximately nine hours before you want to eat, insert the ash-free rocks into the pig, then fasten the chicken wire around it and lift it into the pit. (This will require at least two strong people.) If you have a smaller pig, calculate the cooking time at 1 hour for every 8 lbs.

    11. Cover the pig with the damp banana leaves. Place the wet tarp on top of the leaves (make sure the tarp is clean, especially if you want to unveil the pig in ceremonial fashion). Finally, cover the tarp with about six inches of sand to seal everything in.

    12. That's it for the next nine hours or so. Go prepare the rest of the lu'au.

    13. When the time comes to unveil the pig, have your large container ready to transport it to the kitchen. (You don't want to do the next part in front of your guests). A few notes of caution:

    Remove the sand carefully, so it doesn't get in the meat

    Remove the tarp and banana leaves carefully as well; they'll be very hot

    Count the rocks as you remove them from the pig (use tongs) to make sure you've got them all

    Watch out for dripping oil; open-toed shoes aren't recommended

    14. In the kitchen: The meat should practically fall off the bone. Use one of the pig's shoulder blade bones as a shovel, and keep that bowl of ice water handy!

    Congratulations -- you did it. Now proudly take those platters of homemade kalua pork to the buffet table and treat your guests to a mouthwatering experience they'll never forget!

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Hawaii (State of) Local Customs

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