Exploring the Rich Customs and Traditions of Waikiki, Hawaii

Waikiki, Hawaii is a vibrant and bustling neighborhood located on the island of Oahu. It is known for its stunning beaches, luxurious resorts, and lively nightlife. But beyond its picturesque landscapes and tourist attractions, Waikiki also has a rich culture and history that is deeply rooted in its customs and traditions.

The Spirit of Aloha

One of the most well-known customs in Waikiki, and throughout Hawaii, is the spirit of aloha. This word has become synonymous with the Hawaiian culture and is often used as a greeting or farewell.

But aloha goes beyond just a simple word, it embodies a way of life that is centered around love, compassion, and respect for others. The spirit of aloha can be seen in the warm smiles and friendly demeanor of the locals in Waikiki. It is also reflected in the hospitality and welcoming nature of the people, making visitors feel like they are part of the community.

Hula Dancing

Hula dancing is another important tradition in Waikiki. This ancient dance form has been passed down through generations and is deeply ingrained in Hawaiian culture. It is a way to tell stories, preserve history, and honor the gods. There are two main types of hula dancing – hula kahiko (ancient hula) and hula auana (modern hula).

Hula kahiko is a more traditional form that uses chants, while hula auana incorporates modern music and instruments. Both forms are mesmerizing to watch and often tell stories about nature, love, or historical events.

Lei Giving

The lei is a symbol of love, friendship, and aloha in Hawaiian culture. It is a garland made of flowers, leaves, or shells that is worn around the neck or given as a gift. In Waikiki, it is customary to give and receive leis as a way to welcome visitors or show appreciation. The art of lei making is a skill that has been passed down through generations and is still practiced in Waikiki today.

Each flower or plant used in a lei has a special meaning, making it a thoughtful and meaningful gift.

Luau Celebrations

A luau is a traditional Hawaiian feast that is often held to celebrate special occasions such as weddings, birthdays, or graduations. It is a time for family and friends to come together, share food, and enjoy entertainment such as hula dancing and live music. In Waikiki, there are many luaus that are open to the public, allowing visitors to experience this important tradition. The food served at a luau often includes kalua pig (roasted pig), poi (a paste made from taro root), and lomi lomi salmon (a salad made with salmon, tomatoes, and onions).

Respect for Nature

The Hawaiian people have a deep connection to nature and believe that everything in the world is connected. This belief is reflected in their customs and traditions, which emphasize the importance of respecting and caring for the environment. In Waikiki, there are many opportunities to learn about the local flora and fauna through activities such as hiking, snorkeling, or visiting botanical gardens.

It is also customary to ask for permission before entering someone's land or taking anything from nature.


Ho'oponopono is an ancient Hawaiian practice of reconciliation and forgiveness. It is based on the belief that all problems and conflicts can be resolved through open communication and forgiveness. In Waikiki, ho'oponopono is still practiced by families and communities as a way to resolve disputes and restore harmony. It involves a mediator who helps facilitate a discussion between the parties involved, allowing them to express their feelings and find a resolution.


Waikiki, Hawaii is more than just a tourist destination, it is a place rich in culture and traditions. From the spirit of aloha to hula dancing and lei giving, these customs are deeply ingrained in the daily lives of the locals and are an important part of what makes Waikiki so special. So the next time you visit Waikiki, take some time to learn about these customs and traditions.

You will not only gain a deeper understanding of the Hawaiian culture but also experience the true essence of aloha.