Hawaiian Culture: More Than Just Aloha Shirts

If you’re planning a visit to Hawaii, it’s a good idea to educate yourself on all things Hawaii. While this island is the 50th state of the union, it was also once its own nation and has its own culture. Before you relax on the beautiful beaches of Maui or visit the Kona coffee plantations on the Big Island, read this post all about Hawaiian culture.

Ancient Hawaiian culture intersects with the ancient Polynesian traditions since the first settlers were from Polynesia and beyond. Over decades and even centuries, they adapted their culture to their island nation and honed lifestyle traditions like surfing. They also added new gods like Pele, the volcano god. The Hawaiians also became very skilled at traditions like kappa making, feather work and hula. The differences in their skill level made the Hawaiian culture distinct from that of Polynesia and they naturally reacted to their surroundings.

Food is an important part of any culture and Hawaii is no exception. In ancient times, food preparation included broiling, roasting and boiling. In this culture, it was a man’s job to prepare the meal and wooden utensils and gourd bowls were mainly used. Food was often cooked on a flat bed of coals. Fruits such as bananas or breadfruit could be cooked in their skins, but other items like fish were wrapped in leaves first. An earthen oven called an imu was also used. Sweet potatoes, taro and chicken and fish were all prepared this way. Pigs were cooked whole with hot stones placed on the animal’s body. Today, pigs are still roasted whole in a pit for Hawaiian luaus.

Some traditions, like surfing and Aloha shirts, have maintained into modern times. Surfing is still a favorite island pastime and a huge draw for people from all over the world. International competitions often take place at Hawaii for the quality of the waves. Aloha shirts started as a side business for a man during the depression. Now they are iconic with Hawaiian culture and can be found in nearly every store on the island.

If you’re visiting Hawaii, consider taking at least one guided tour to learn more about this state’s unique culture. Purchase tickets to a luau to taste traditional foods and see the dances that make up a rich history of ancient Polynesian influence. Many of the dances take you through time to war and peacetime and everything in between. book on DiscoverHawaiiTours.com or call us at 808-670-3743 to find the perfect guided tour today.

Hawaii may be a part of the United States today, but it has a rich history as an island nation that you should take in while you visit!

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