Culture and Customs in Hawaii
When visiting a new place, it is important to be aware of the local customs and etiquette, and Hawaii is no different. Hawaii has its own local customs and etiquette. Being aware of the local culture and customs will enable you to fully experience the culture and not worry about being offensive or inpolite. What should you know before you go? Below are examples of customs and etiquette you should keep in mind when visiting Hawaii.
You should use the words aloha and mahalo with sincerity. Aloha has several meanings, but is mainly used to say hello. Mahalo is used to say thank you.
If you are given a flower lei, you should wear it with gratitude and never take it off in the presence of the person who gave it to you, according to "Minding Your Manners in Hawaii." "Minding Your Manners in Hawaii" also suggests that if the lei begins to irritate your neck, you may reposition the lei to lay on your shoulders. Leis should not be dismissed as girly and touristy. These beautiful garlands have been worn by Hawaiians and Polynesian settlers. Chiefs exchanged leis between groups as symbols of peace. According to "Hawaiian Tourist Etiquette" you should never wear your lei around your head or twisted around your waist or arm as a bracelet.
Like many cultures, Hawaiians show respect for their elders. Therefore, mind your manners and do the same. You should let older ones go in front of you and open doors for them. If you are invited to someone’s home, always take your shoes off when entering the home. "Hawaiian Island Culture and Customs" suggest that you wear shoes that you can easily slip on and off. You should also show respect to everyone you meet by saying aloha.
When invited to someone’s home, it is polite to bring a small gift. For instance, if it is game night, you may bring a dessert. If you are invited to a potluck dinner where guests bring different dishes, you can ask your host what you can bring. If you are traveling and are able to bring food that is not available in Hawaiian, you can do so. This gesture will be greatly appreciated by your host.
Hawaii is close to the equator and the sun is very strong and hot. You don’t want to miss out on sightseeing and outdoor activities. Be sure to protect yourself from the sun by applying sunscreen.
When visiting a site that Hawaiians hold sacred such as a temple, rock wall with petroglyphs, or carvings created by ancient Hawaiians, you should treat these areas with respect. When visiting sacred areas, it is suggested that you talk and walk quietly. Do not leave trash in these areas. You should always extend respect to the local wildlife and landscape. Therefore do not pick flowers or rearrange rocks to spell your name.
According to "Everything You Need to Easily Plan Your Perfect Hawaiian Vacation", many Hawaiians tend to speak pidgin English which is a mix of Japanese and Filipino languages, this isn’t the only language that they know. The majority of Hawaiians speak standard English and expect you to communicate with them in the language.