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Hawaii - Culture

  • Ukuleles
  • Polynesian culture
  • Romantic couple enjoying a beautiful sunset
  • Hawaiian art

Social Conventions

Despite its tropical landscapes, it is important to remember that Hawaii is still part of America. It is also important that visitors do not refer to all locals as native “Hawaiians”. This term should only refer to people of Polynesian descent. Non-Hawaiians who were born on the islands usually refer to themselves as locals or as being “from Hawaii”.

The people of Hawaii are known for their friendliness and hospitality. It is not surprising then that “Aloha” the word for both hello and goodbye means love, compassion and affection - all traits that the Hawaiian Islands are famous for! People have a deep reverence for the land and believe that it is their privilege and responsibility to take care of it. They expect that visitors also respect the land.


Hawaii is the only state in America that has two official languages, Hawaiian and English.  Hawaiian is one of the oldest living languages in the world.  For a time it was in a decline, however, recent years has seen a revival and is frequently taught in schools.

When in Hawaii, visitors may hear a mix of languages known as Pidgin.  This language was created so that the Japanese, Chinese, Portuguese, Filipino, Hawaiian and Americans living in Hawaii could do business together.  Today, it is often slipped into regular conversation and is even used in some advertising on the islands.


The traditional Hawaiian religion was a mixture of different religious beliefs and practices.  Many people were polytheistic meaning they believed in many deities, others were animistic which meant they believed that spirits were found in non-human being objects like animals or the sky.

Most of Hawaii’s residents now belong to Christian denominations, however, almost all religions are represented.  The group with the largest following is the Catholic Church.  Buddhism also has a large following, while Protestant groups including Mormons, Congregationalists, Methodists, Baptists, Protestant Episcopalians and Seventh Day Adventists have varying numbers of members. 


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