Hawaii Culture and Sports


The original population is now a minority on the islands (5.9% of the population considers themselves wholly or partly Hawaiian). Some of the old Hawaiian customs that have been adopted by the tourist industry are the luau (big party), the hula, which has been slightly modified for the tourists, and the lei (flower wreath). In addition, there has been a revival of the traditional hula since 1970, with great attention being paid to traditional practices.

According to watchtutorials, Hawaiian music is known for its ukulele and slack-key guitar. Hawaii is also known for the aloha shirt (and other clothing with colorful floral motifs). Hawaiian cuisine is strongly influenced by the different groups of immigrants (eg from China, the Philippines, Japan, Korea, Polynesia and Portugal).

Hawaii has ranches and cowboys. These Hawaiian cowboys are called Paniolos. This came about when King Kamehameha I was given a number of cattle as gifts from British explorer George Vancouver in 1793. By the time Kamehameha III came to power, cattle numbers had grown enormously and had become a problem. He had cowboys from the mainland come for advice and the first ranches were set up under his regime.

The Polynesian territories, including the Hawaiian Islands, have traditionally had a different attitude toward LGBT or third-gender people. Here the Māhūs (literally in the middle) took a religious place in the community. After all, they had been changed by the gods. As a result, LGBT people, transgenders and other groups are more accepted than in large parts of the US.


Hawaiian belongs to the Malayo -Polynesian languages ​​and has only twelve letters, including eight consonants, making the language very recognizable very quickly. Writing did not exist before the arrival of missionaries, and was developed by them between 1820 and 1826. Before that, Hawaiian history was passed on through legends, often through song and dance (hula).

In the period from 1830 to 1950, the use of Hawaiian as a first language declined sharply. Now only a few residents speak Hawaiian as their mother tongue and English is mainly spoken. However, the language gained more interest in the 1950s. Since 1978, it has been one of the two official languages ​​of the state of Hawaii and the public schools teach in the Hawaiian language. There are also schools, such as the Kamehameha Schools, which are only open to children who are (partly; at least 1/16) descended from the original inhabitants and where there is a strong emphasis on the Hawaiian language and culture.

In addition to Hawaiian and English, Hawaiian pidgin is in vogue, a simplified hybrid of Hawaiian and English. This is technically not a pidgin dialect, but it originated from several older pidgins.

Hawaiian Mythology & Religion

De tempel Pu’ukoholā Heiau op het eiland Hawaï.

Hawaiian religion and mythology have their roots in the nature religion as practiced in other parts of Polynesia. The religion is polyteistic and animistic, with the spirits also living on in the wind and waves.

The Hawaiian pantheon has many gods. In addition, each family had its own patron saints or gods, the Aumakua. The main gods (the big four) are:

  • Kāne the god of creation and life
  • Kū of struggle, land and masculinity. Human sacrifices were made for Kū
  • Lono of Fertility, Agriculture, Rain, Music and Peace
  • Kanaloa of the sea, the underworld and the magic. He is often depicted as an octopus and is the equivalent of the devil.

There are many lower gods of which Pele the goddess of, among other things, the volcanoes is the best known. A Hawaiian temple is called a Heiau and consisted of a stone platform, often surrounded by a wall or sometimes a sculpture gallery. An important example is the Puʻukoholā Heiau. A luakini was a temple for animal and human sacrifice.

There are several versions of the creation story. The Hawaiian Islands were created either by the gods Wākea and Papahānaumoku or by the legendary person Māui, of whom many stories exist. Another story tells of the birth of Hawaii from the egg of a large bird.

According to mythology, the Hawaiians have a common ancestor, Haloa, who had divine parents. Another legend tells of Taaroa. He is said to have made the first man Araca out of red soil and breathed life into it through his nose. He made the first woman from the bones of the man and named her Ivi.

The legend about Hawaiiloa is about the discoverer of Hawaii. Under his leadership, the first humans would have reached the islands. Another well-known legend is that of the Menehune, a dwarf people who lived on the islands before the first humans arrived. The Menehune were driven inland where they still live in secret. Sometimes they build temples or fish ponds.

Ancient Hawaiian society had a caste system consisting of three castes held together by a complex system of rituals. This system, called Kapu, governed every detail of life and had many taboos. It was even forbidden to touch the shadow of an Aliʻi (member of the highest caste). The Kumulipo is a sung poem in which the highest caste is associated with the gods.

Hawaiian culture and religion was suppressed in the 1800s, but a revival occurred in the late 1800s and 1970s that continues to this day.


Duke Kahanamoku in 1920, gave the sport of surfing worldwide fame. Won Olympic gold in both 1912 and 1920 as a swimmer and was a film actor.

Hawaii is best known for surfing. There is disagreement as to whether this sport originated in Hawaii or another Polynesian archipelago. In Hawaii it had a religious function with only the members of the royal family with the largest surfboards allowed to play. In the early 20th century, Duke Kahanamoku gave the sport of surfing worldwide fame. The Banzai Pipeline is a well-known surf spot on the North Shore of Oahu that hosts major competitions.

Rowing in an outrigger canoe is also an important tradition that is kept alive because the first Hawaiians came by canoe from the Marquesas Islands, about 2,000 kilometers to the south.

There is also paddle surfing and paddleboarding, including a 32-mile race from Molokai to Oahu In Kailua-Kona the Ironman Hawaii triathlon takes place every year.

Hawaii Culture

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