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Aloha Hawaii!


About Hawaii, the Aloha State - Facts
State Nickname - The Aloha State
State Capital - Honolulu
State Flower - Yellow Hibiscus
State Tree - Kukui -- a plant species introduced from Polynesia. Ancient Hawaiians used the nuts of this tree for oil, medicine and more. Kukui oil is still used to soothe dry skin and other dermotological ailments.
Statehood - Hawaii joined the United States as its 50th state on August 21, 1959.
State's Largest Daily Newspaper - The Honolulu Advertiser

The Hawaiian Islands
Hawaii consists of eight major islands plus over a hundred minor islands, reefs and shoals, strung like a necklace across the Pacific for over 1,500 miles. The eight major islands which make up over 99% of the total land area are Oahu, Maui, Hawaii (known as Big Island), Kauai, Molokai, Lanai, Kahoolawe (uninhabited) and Niihau (privately owned). Oahu is where Honolulu and Waikiki are located. The other three major islands that are popular with tourists are Maui, Kauai and the Big Island.

People of Hawaii
With a resident population of about 1.2 million, Hawaii has an average population density statewide of approximately 200 people per square mile. Island living is a test of tolerance. Hawaii is perhaps the only place in the United States, if not the world, where every single racial group is a minority and one of the world's most harmonious gatherings of people. At least a third of the population is of mixed ancestry.

Hawaiian Alphabets and Words
The Hawaiian alphabet was written by 19th century missionaries. The alphabet contains 12 letters: 5 vowels (a, e, i, o, u) and 7 consonants (h, k, l, m, n, p, w). To simplify pronunciation, sound consonants as in English and break up words so they are easy to say e.g., the main campus of the University of Hawaii is located in Manoa. Manoa should be pronounced as Ma-no-a. And the most well-known shopping center in Hawaii is called Ala Moana Shopping Center. Ala Moana is read as A-la Mo-a-na (say it fast). One of the streets I used to live on was Keao'pua Street which is read as Ke-a-o-pu-a Street (again, say it fast). The vowels are pronounced as follows: a as ah, e as ay, i as ee, o as oh, and u as oo.

Though you won't meet many residents who will speak to you in Hawaiian, here are some of the more common Hawaiian words and phrases that you may hear on local TV programming and sometimes spoken by residents in public.

  • Ahui hou - Goodbye.
  • A hui hou kakou - Until we meet again.
  • Aloha - hello, goodbye, love (usually used for greetings)
  • Kama'aina - resident (of Hawaii)
  • Kane - man
  • Kaukau - food, meal
  • Keiki - child
  • Mahalo - thank you.
  • Mahalo nui loa (nu-i lo-a) - thank you very much.
  • Maika'i - I am fine.
  • Mauna, Mauka - mountain
  • Mele Malikimaka - Merry Christmas.
  • Moana - ocean
  • 'Olu'olu - please
  • Pau - finished
  • Wahine - woman

Hawaii's Climate
The Hawaiian Islands have only two seasons -- "summer" (usually 70s - mid 90s) occurs between May and October and "winter" (usually 50s - 80s) occurs between October and April. Hawaii's climate features mild temperatures, moderate humidity and nice, cooling trade winds.

Some Hawaiian Customs

Hawaiian Leis:
In Hawaii, it is customary to give a lei as a gesture of congratulations (graduations, weddings, birthdays) and aloha (love) to those celebrating a milestone or receiving an honor. It is also common to present a lei to a friend or relative who is arriving in the Islands as a warm welcome. There are many different types of leis. Leis are normally worn around the neck and can be made of tropical flowers (such as the fragrant tuberose, plumeria or pikakes), maile (green, shiny leaves), tiny sea shells, seeds, nuts and berries.

Driving on the Road:
If, in your daily driving routine you're accustomed to blaring horns, rude drivers and merging forcefully into lines of traffic, you may find Hawaii a refreshing change. Most Island drivers practice the spirit of giving (aloha) on the road. Rarely will you hear a horn or shout in traffic, and more often than not you'll be waved into traffic or through a stop sign by a courteous fellow driver. If this happens, smile, wave or flash them a shaka.

Plate Lunches:
A "plate lunch" is Hawaii's version of fast food. The plate lunch is inexpensive (usually $5-7) and the portion is usually large. They normally include rice (white or brown) and a choice of macaroni or potato salad. From there, the options are nearly boundless, but usually include a choice of several types of barbecued pork, chicken and beef such as Chinese char siu pork, tangy Korean kalbi ribs or Japanese teriyaki chicken among them; chicken/pork adobo (braised), katsu (breaded and fried); lomi lomi salmon (served salted and chilled, Mexican ceviche style), mahi mahi (fish); Hawaiian Kailua pork, and much more.

Interesting Trivia: Did You Know That...

  • Hawaii has no daylight savings time.
  • Hawaii has no wild snakes.
  • Hawaii is home to the tallest mountain on the planet (Mauna Kea on the Big Island tops out at 33,476 feet measured from the seafloor).
  • Hawaii has no rabies and requires a period of quarantine for incoming dogs and cats.
  • Hawaii is the only place on earth that hosts all branches of the U.S. military.

Some Links to Places in Hawaii

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This page was last updated on 6/9/10.
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