Customs and Etiquette for the Aloha State
Journey from state to state, and although still in America, it’s worth taking the time to see how each star on our American flag shines its own unique presence. The Aloha State offers a captivating, culturally rich destination. Unlike National Lampoon’s “Vacation” which features the Griswold family buzzing through state after state heading for a west coast amusement park, there is no urge for quick photo snapping and moving on. Hawaii offers a leisure that lures travelers back for more.
A visit to Hawaii should be on everyone’s bucket list (as should all States in the Union, in my opinion). The locals would probably like to ring my neck for advertising more tourism, but it would be impossible not to be proud of its splendor and a sin not share it with you!! Grab your sunscreen and the useful tips below to help guide you on a lush excursion into this Pacific paradise.
Learn the language. It’s likely you will hear Aloha and Mahalo more often than their English language counterparts. Aloha is a highly efficient Hawaiian term for “hello, goodbye, love, compassion, welcome and good wishes…” The true meaning expresses the life, breath and spirit of sharing the moment with others. Mahalo means “thank you, with gratitude, admiration, praise, esteem, regards, with respect …” Immerse yourself in this creative vocabulary.
Protect What is Sacred. Touching sea turtles is a huge faux pas because turtles are fully protected. However, nothing but the sight of a shark should stop you from snapping on a snorkeling mask and diving into the Pacific to “ooh and ahh” at these magnificent creatures. If you feel the need to touch, just don’t. Altars, roadside crosses, volcanoes and temples are sacred and command the highest respect. On a recent trip to Hawaii Volcano National Park, I overheard a park ranger tell a group of tourists that the volcanoes are so sacred that some violations of them are punishable by death. In other words, don’t mess with Mother Nature!
Sunburns Hurt. Hawaii is extremely close to the equator, and the sun is strong and without mercy. If you want to “stick-out” in Hawaii, sunburn yourself and walk around as cooked lobster. The pain will confine you to the small amount of shade under an umbrella or worse, hold you hostage in your hotel room. Take the safe road and follow the island rule for mainlanders, “wear sunscreen!” You’ll still get enough color to impress your friends back home.
Wear the Lei. The Hawaiian leis are a nostalgic representative of the welcoming spirit of the Islands. At one point in time, I remember leis were given away for free to every passenger deplaning at the airport. Nowadays, they come at a cost well worth the opportunity to adorn yourself in the sweetest smelling of luxurious island florals. Accept the lei you receive with gratitude and wear it; it is part of the cultural experience of Hawaii. Drape it around your neck or follow the traditional custom of allowing the lei to rest across your shoulders; half on your chest, and the other half down your backside. Remember not to remove your lei in front of the person who gave it to you.
Clothing Considerations. Hawaii is especially noted as the one state where wearing some form of a bathing suit day and night doesn’t seem to cause anyone to think or look twice. Of course, business events may require you to dress smartly in “resort casual” essential at some swanky locations. Special consideration is necessary when visiting residents of the state. Local custom suggests removing your shoes before entering a home.
Mahalo for reading the tips I find helpful in making a trip to Hawaii fun! America should be on a big push for buying local, and I highly encourage you to shop Hawaii soon. Aloha!
Tiffany Nielsen, President of Premier Etiquette, is a sought-after speaker and workshop facilitator. She is co author of the books Incredible Business and Power of Civility. She is an etiquette and civility enthusiasts with an exceptional ability to motivate and inspire professionals, collegians and the youth to tap into etiquette and civility as tools for elevating personal success! Visit her website at http://www.tiffanynielsen.com/ to get her special report and to join her blog.
Interested in supporting local businesses and talent? Please stop by Tricia Kirksey Real Estate or Nielsen & Associates Insurance to purchase your personal copy of Tiffany’s co authored business guide, Incredible Business!
Copyright 2011 Tiffany Nielsen. All Rights Reserved. To reprint, please contact Tiffany Nielsen at firstname.lastname@example.org for permission. www.tiffanyynielsen.com