Destinations

A deep dive into Hawaiian culture

Many travellers are not aware that Hawaii was once a kingdom with a rich history of Hawaiian kings and queens, language and customs.

Today, the Hawaiian Islands is a melting pot of many peoples and cultures that immigrated to the islands and made it their home; foreign customs naturally mixed with Hawaii’s native culture to create a unique lifestyle enjoyed by the destination’s current population of kamaaina (locals).

However, people living in Hawaii have great respect for its native customs and traditions, which tourists can experience when they visit. Here are a few for your clients to consider during their trip:

Aloha aina/love of the land

In the native Hawaiian creation story, the aina or land (islands) came before man. Native Hawaiians treat it with the highest respect and believe that they have a responsibility to care and nurture it into the future.

The idea of land ownership is foreign to Native Hawaiians, as one can never own something so sacred and beautiful. Rather, they believe that they belong to the land and are forever in its service.

Kai/ocean

Similar to the aina, the kai is also very important in Native Hawaiian tradition. It plays a significant role in the migration story of the original Polynesians that travelled thousands of miles on their double-hull canoes using just the stars to reach their destination of Hawaii.

The sea is respected as a powerful natural force that also provides food and fun through various ocean activities, including surfing which originated in Hawaii.

Credit: Hawaii Tourism Authority/Heather Goodman

Moolelo/storytelling

Native Hawaiians have a tradition of ‘talking story’, meaning that they pass down culture and language through storytelling. A written form of Hawaiian language was established in the 1800s after missionaries arrived in Hawaii.

Word of mouth is a traditional and primary method of communication practiced by Native Hawaiians, especially today within families, who share stories between the living generations.

Mele/music

Native Hawaiians are talented composers who write and chant mele or songs that honour people and places throughout the world. Some of Hawaii’s most famous composers were its kings and queens who wrote many of Hawaiiʻs beloved mele.

These beautiful songs can still be heard today, along with the many others written by Native Hawaiians and kamaaina throughout the history of Hawaii.

One of the most commonly played Hawaiian instruments is the ukulele. This miniature guitar was introduced to Hawaii by Portuguese immigrants and is now synonymous with the Hawaiian Islands. Ukulele lessons are a popular cultural activity for visitors.

Credit: Hawaii Tourism Authority

Hana lei/lei making

In Hawaiian tradition, lei are made by someone to wear themselves or more commonly to give away to a beloved family member or friend.

Lei are a symbol of aloha and people are given lei on special occasions such as birthdays, graduations and weddings. Sometimes, people give away lei just to show their aloha to someone, with no occasion needed.

Meaai/culinary

The Hawaiian word meaai literally means “thing to eat.” Food is such a large part of the culture in Hawaii. The Native Hawaiian diet is made up mostly of pork and fish.

Today, local island cuisine is influenced by the many cultures that make up Hawaii, including Japanese, Chinese, Filipino, Portuguese and, of course, Hawaiian. The destination is also famous for Pacific Rim cuisine, which blends dishes of Asian and Pacific origins.

Food brings people together in Hawaii. Meals are cooked and shared between ohana (family) and friends, with these traditions helping to build a sense of community across the islands.

SEE WHAT PEOPLE ARE SAYING

Leave a Reply

Travel Agents

“I’ve been quite overwhelmed”: Agent wowed by client support

While most travel agents have been busy repatriating clients and working on refunds, one advisor was presented with a golden opportunity.

Share

CommentComments

Destinations

Destination Gold Coast recruits celebs for postcard campaign

A host of celebs and tour operators have been suffering from writer’s cramp after the destination marketing agency asked them to pen 3,000 postcards to Aussie families.

Share

CommentComments

Destinations

Aloha Friday Wrap: HTA adopts important declaration, Hawaiian Airlines’ new cookbook + MORE

Have your clients been sorely missing the Hawaiian Islands? Lift their spirits with the latest Aloha Friday Wrap.

Share

CommentComments

Aviation

Hawaiian Airlines creates ‘Sharing Aloha Series’ cookbook

Due to the popularity of Hawaiian Airlines’ ‘Sharing Aloha Series’, the airline has created a downloadable recipe book with all of the dishes for fans to make at home.

Share

CommentComments

Events

Hawaii Volcanoes National Park’s annual Cultural Festival to go virtual

Hawaii Volcanoes National Park is not letting the COVID-19 pandemic get in the way of its annual Cultural Festival.

Share

CommentComments

Aviation

Hawaiian Airlines extends ‘Book With Confidence’ waiver

Hawaiian Airlines has extended its Book With Confidence waiver to cover any new bookings made through 31 July 2020.

Share

CommentComments

Destinations

Hawaii Tourism Authority adopts Aina Aloha declaration

Hawaii Tourism Authority (HTA) has adopted the Aina Aloha Economic Futures declaration following a recent meeting of its board of directors.

Share

CommentComments

Aviation

WATCH: The ‘new normal’ of flying between the Hawaiian Islands

Hawaiian Airlines has shared a video to show the ‘new normal’ of flying between the Hawaiian Islands.

Share

CommentComments

Tourism

Linkd Tourism appoints new trade account manager

Here’s some positive recruitment news to offset some of the negative redundancy news that’s been doing the rounds in the travel industry lately.

Share

CommentComments

Aviation

YIPPEE! Virgin launches new Aussie routes, brings back ‘Happy Hour’ sales

The only thing we at Travel Weekly love more than new routes is cheap airfares, and this story features both! Well, except wine, of course – we value wine above almost everything.

Share

CommentComments

Travel Agents

Flight Centre gains access to additional funding to offset COVID-19 impacts

Skroo’s stress ball has scored a well-earned break after Flight Centre managed to secure some much-needed funding.

Share

CommentComments

Hotels

Hotel Wrap: Event hotels to give away 1,200 nights, Crystalbrook offers $100 bar tabs to interstate guests + MORE

Planning a domestic escape for your clients? Lucky for you, we’ve got a mix of deals, offers and openings to suit all tastes in this wrap.

Share

CommentComments