I will never forget completing my relocation to the Big Island of Hawaii. Even though I felt like I spent a months preparing, and had visited the Hawaiian Islands previously several times, there were still plenty of things I wish I had known before I made the big move.
To help make the transition easier for others, I’m going to share some insight. In this post, I’ll tell you the top 5 traditions you should know before you move to Hawaii.
1. Most locals take their shoes off before entering a home. You will often see a shoe rack on the lanai, or a sign indicating, please remove your shoes outside a doorway of a home will indicate that shoes should be removed prior to entering the home.
2. Hawaiian, or “Aloha”, shirts are a part of everyday life in the Islands. They are often considered appropriate business attire, and can be seen worn at even the most formal of functions.
3. If you are living or visiting one of the Hawaiian Islands, try not to refer to the other Hawaiian Islands as “outer” islands. Locals typically refer to them as the “neighbor” islands. Also, the 48 contiguous United States are typically referred to as the “Mainland”.
4. When giving or receiving directions on any of the islands, you will hear the words “mauka” and “makai”. Mauka refers to the general direction of the mountains (inland), and Makai refers to the general direction of the sea (Pacific Ocean).
5. If you are “caucasian”, do not be upset if someone calls you a“haole”. The Hawaiian words “ha’ole” simply means “stranger.” The term is usually used for people from the Mainland in general. Similarly, it is rude to refer to the locals as “natives” or “Hawaiians”. The term “kama’aina” is also used for locals of all ethnicities.
Hawaii is certainly a part of the United States, but it is not part of the continents that make up the “Americas”, so the lifestyle and cultures here are vastly different that those of the Mainland. These differences may not be apparent to vacationers, or even frequent visitors, who come and experience a Mainland-style living that also exists here in the islands. Only after moving to Hawaii and living daily life here does one begin to see the cultural traditions that make living here so wonderful.
This post comes from Todd Barrett, whose lifelong dream of living in Hawaii became a reality when he moved to Kona in 2000. As a Top Producing Real Estate Agent, Todd focuses on residential homes, resort properties, and permanent relocation to Hawaii. An avid saltwater fisherman and trolling lure maker, fishing for pelagic species of fish is his other full time passion. He takes the same attitude with fishing as he does with his real estate business; anything worth doing, is worth doing right! Please feel free to call or write Todd W Barrett, RS, ABR for a no obligation “talk story” about the current Big Island real estate market.
Are you surprised to learn of these traditions? Which ones have you heard of? Tell us below in the comments!