Do you love Hawaii and it's culture? (who doesn't?????)
There are many pieces of what encompasses Hawaii's culture. Read on to learn about our favorites and share yours in the comments below.
Hawaii is a tropical paradise which has more than its share of beautiful beaches, sensational sunsets, looming waterfalls and reefs teeming with vibrant fish. Anybody who has been there understands Hawaii is different, unique, and extraordinary. What sets these islands apart from the remainder of the world? It's the native culture, the Hawaiian culture. It's a culture that is filled with interesting customs, music, legends, and values.
The Hawaiian Flower Lei
Today, probably the most enjoyable and extraordinary Hawaiian custom is the flower lei. Hawaiian custom dictates that a lei needs to be provided enthusiastically with a kiss and given only in person. It's considered impolite to remove a lei once it's accepted. Lei designs are restricted only to the creativity and variety available -- from the simple typical one-strand orchid or tuberose presented as a special treat to those who arrive by aircraft or ship to the more elaborate or rare depending upon how special the occasion might be.
The Hawaiian Language
The Hawaiian language. It comprises of only 5 vowels and 8 consonants. Hawaii has the shortest alphabet in the world. Challenging for many to master, the language is full of words having lots of hidden meanings. Among the most significant is the word aloha. It's probably the most widely understood of all Hawaiian words, yet it is among the most essential. Aloha not only implies hello, goodbye and love, it likewise indicates sympathy, kindness, compassion, love and fondness. This word is more than a welcoming or expression of love -- it is the basis of exactly what Hawaiians consider to be among the culture's core values.
The Hawaiian Hula
Another Hawaiian icon is the hula. It's a picture of swaying hips, elegant hands and colorful outfits. The hula has actually advanced throughout the years from an activity specifically for men and for religious purposes to today's modern dances, where both the men and women dance for enjoyable, expression and satisfaction. There are two types of hula: the ancient, or hula kahiko and the modern-day, or hula auana. Hula kahiko is accompanied in the Hawaiian language in addition to drums and other percussion instruments. Hula kahiko is carried out for storytelling or for spiritual and ceremonial purposes. Dancers are decorated with bark fabric, coconut fibers and native yards, plants and ferns. Hula auana is colorful, fun, upbeat and musical. Auana dances are accompanied by tune in either English or Hawaiian, along with ukuleles and piano guitars. The dancers' gowns are vibrant and are decorated with flower prints.
Watch the beauty of the hula:
The Hawaiian Music
Music has grown to be a familiar and popular part of Hawaiian culture. Ever evolving from a beginning of simple drumbeats and chants, music today is fulled of a multitude of artists and genres that consist of hapa-haole (Hawaiian melody with English lyrics), standard, luau, kolohe (naughty or teasing hula), chalangalang, jawaiian and more.
The Hawaiian Legends
Another aspect of Hawaiian culture is based on legends. Old Hawaiians were known to be storytellers. Legends were a way of recording history, understanding, truths and beliefs from generation to generation. A few of the more popular legends consist of the story of the demi-God Maui, who pulled the island up from all-time low of the sea, the wicked, misleading and envious volcano goddess Pele and her snow god sister Poliahu. There are legends about the Kumulipo, which outline the production of the Hawaiian Islands and others that inform fishing stories about the shark gods.
The Hawaiian culture also has numerous superstitious notions and prophecies, which are commonly known and still observed today. Rain and rainbows are considered true blessings from the gods. This is especially true if it rains throughout wedding events. It's still believed that it's bad luck to bring bananas on a boat, to step over a child who is lying on the floor and to wear a lei if you are pregnant.
Another dark omen that is more modern in nature has to do with the taking of lava rocks from a volcano, which will cause that person being followed by misfortune. Numerous such rocks are known to be returned by visitors to Hawaii via mail.
The Hawaiian culture is rich, living, mysterious and unique. It's what truly makes Hawaii special. So, when you're in Hawaii, make sure to look past the sunrises and sunsets, and and make the effort to check out the culture that makes the Hawaiian Islands really unique and unforgettable.