Those who have already been to Hawaii know that this little paradise is not only limited to the magnificent landscapes. The atmosphere that reigns there is totally exotic and the archipelago is distinguished by its diverse
Hawaiian culture made up of legends, traditions, dances and music. You will have the happiness and joy of discovering the “Aloha Spirit” during your stay in Hawaii, and you will no longer want to go home!
It is a very important notion of Hawaiian culture, the word Aloha means a multitude of things and can be used in different contexts.
In current Hawaiian culture, it is mostly used as a greeting – meaning both hello and goodbye. But the Aloha spirit is the sense of hospitality, concern for others as well as respect for their personality. Wherever you are, hotels, restaurants, tourist sites, national parks, there will always be someone in Hawaii to inform you, and who will be happy to do so!
If you have the opportunity, you can also attend a lu’au, a traditional Hawaiian festival, with typical dishes and a show of traditional song and dance. This dance is called the hula, which was, according to legend, considered as an offering to the gods and goddesses.
Today, Hawaiian dance is a world symbol of its culture, and it is an essential activity of your stay!
You can’t talk about Hawaii without talking about surfing, which holds a preponderant place in Hawaiian culture! Created by Hawaiians, this sport was first reserved for the elites (alii) and it became popular at the beginning of the 20th century with the Duke Kahanamoku, which greatly contributed to the reputation of surfing on the archipelago.
Today, the beaches of Waikiki allow beginners to learn in optimal conditions while the north coast of Oʻahu and its waves which can reach 7 meters, are reserved for initiates.
You can bring back several products typical of the Hawaiian archipelago, according to your attractions:
This symbolic string instrument is a very nice souvenir even if you don’t know how to play it. You will find decorative ones in souvenir shops, in particular the ABC Stores, but you will also be able to find “real” ones among artisans, where you can try them, especially in Waikiki where there are several.
If you cannot keep the flower necklace that you are given, you can always buy one made of shells or kukui nuts. A lei will probably be given to you on your arrival, traditionally made up of fresh flowers. True offering, it is not uncommon to see in Hawaii many statues decorated with these necklaces of flowers, such as that of King Kamehameha.
A Hawaiian Shirt:
You will find them everywhere, but they are sometimes quite kitsch…
A Package of Coffee:
There are several coffee productions in Hawaii, you will be able to taste them in your hotel rooms. We recommend the Kona made in Big Island.
A Box of Macadamia Nuts:
Sweet or savory, there is something for everyone. You’ll find them all over the ABC Stores (Manau Loa). You can also visit the Manau Loa Macadamia Nuts visitor center, located on Big Island, about 15 minutes from the city of Hilo.
There are also several festivities throughout the year, it can be interesting to know them in order to organize your trip to Hawaii.
- January: “Pacific Island Arts Festival”, for 2 days in Waikiki, with hula shows and tastings of local specialties.
- February: “Chinese New Year” in Honolulu in the Chinatown district.
- March: “Honolulu Festival”, with concerts, dances, and parades in town.
- May: Kauai Polynesian Festival (end of May in Lihue on the island of Kauai), with crafts, and traditional shows from all over Polynesia; “Lei Day”, May 1st where we make and exchange lei.
- June: “King Kamehameha Day”, June 11 (holiday), north of the Kohala coast on Big Island, a big celebration to celebrate the memory of the King, with shows, crafts and tasting of specialties; and the “Maui Film Festival” in mid-June at Wailea on Maui: a festival which has presented more than 500 films since its creation.
- July: “Kilauea Cultural Festival” in mid-July at the Visitor’s Center of the Hawaii Volcanoes National Park. The park then hosts a cultural festival that brings together artists from all over the archipelago, with hula demonstrations, traditional music concerts, local craft workshops, and tasting of Hawaiian dishes.
- October: Lahaina Halloween, October 31 in Lahaina on Maui.
- November: Hawaii international Film Festival, the largest film festival in Hawaii.
Hawaiian culture also goes through its cuisine, which is as mixed as the population of the archipelago: it is multiple and open to many cultures. There are therefore many recipes combining Asian and Polynesian influences. However, there are also in Hawaii, everywhere, fast food typical in the United States.
Here are some dishes that we eat every day:
- Bento: Japanese meal tray for lunch, generally including rice, sushi, maki, tempura, etc.
- Loco moco: plate of rice covered with corned beef or a pan-fried egg, all with a creamy sauce.
- Pupus: assortments of typically Hawaiian appetizers (fried shrimp, soybeans, sushi).
- Saimin: noodle soup which is bathed in chicken, shrimp, beef or pork broth.
- Shave-ice: crushed ice flavored with syrup, tasty and not very expensive, often with lots of colors and mixed flavors.