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Hawaiian customs and traditions
The traditions of Hawaii are as diverse as its inhabitants. Steeped in the Native culture of Hawaii, they have been handed down from generation to generation while mingling with the customs of peoples from around the world to settle in the archipelago.
Here is a practical overview of some local traditions and customs:
In Hawaii, people greet people with a kiss on the cheek.
When entering a house, always remember to take off your shoes.
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If someone invites you to his home for a meal or a party, do not empty your hands. Bring a dessert or something else to eat!
Generally, a flower worn on a woman’s left ear means that she is in a relationship. Worn on the right ear, she identifies a single woman.
The lei (flower necklace) is a gift that is offered for special occasions, such as an anniversary or graduation. It is also presented to visitors as a sign of welcome.
If you plan to offer a lei to a pregnant woman (“hapai”), consider asking the florist or lei maker to leave the necklace open. Indeed, in these circumstances, a closed lei brings bad luck because it represents the umbilical cord that encloses the neck of the unborn child. Pregnant women never wear a “hala” (Hawaiian pandanus variety) because it is considered a bad omen.
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Do not take sand or pebbles on the beach or rocks on a volcanic site. Bringing travel gifts to friends and family is seen as a gesture of attention. Spam canned pre-cooked meat is very popular in Hawaii. Most often, it is consumed in the form of “spam musubi”, a slice of spam grilled with rice, all wrapped in a sheet of nori (dried seaweed) to form a delicious snack that is eaten with the fingers. The first birthday, or “luau”, occupies a special place in Hawaii. This goes back to ancient times, when children did not always survive the first year, making it a festive occasion.
At the Chinese New Year, it is said that the lion dance brings good luck. On this occasion, it is customary to offer money in a red lucky envelope called “lai see”. On this day, mochi, Japanese rice cakes, are traditionally eaten. Stay tuned for the other travel tips!