Hawaii is the 50th and most recent U.S. state to join the United States, having joined the Union on August 21, 1959. It is the only U.S. state located in Oceania and the only one made up entirely of islands. It is the northernmost island group in Polynesia, occupying most of an archipelago in the central Pacific Ocean.
Hawaii's diverse natural scenery, warm tropical climate, abundance of public beaches, oceanic surroundings, and active volcanoes make it a popular destination for tourists, (wind) surfers, biologists, and volcanologists alike. Due to its mid-Pacific location, Hawaii has many North American and Asian influences along with its own vibrant native culture. Hawaii has over a million permanent residents, along with many visitors and U.S. military personnel. Its capital is Honolulu on the island of Oʻahu.
The state encompasses nearly the entire volcanic Hawaiian Archipelago, which comprises hundreds of islands spread over 1,500 miles (2,400 km). At the southeastern end of the archipelago, the eight "main islands" are (from the northwest to southeast) Niʻihau, Kauaʻi, Oʻahu,Molokaʻi, Lānaʻi, Kahoʻolawe, Maui and the Island of Hawaiʻi. The last is the largest and is often called the "Big Island" to avoid confusing the island with the state or archipelago. The archipelago is physiographically and ethnologically part of the Polynesian subregion of Oceania.
Hawaii is the 8th-smallest, the 11th-least populous, but the 13th-most densely populated of the 50 U.S. states. Hawaii's ocean coastline is about 750 miles (1,210 km) long, which is fourth in the United States after those of Alaska, Florida and California.
Hawaii is the only U.S. state not located in the Americas and the only state with an Asian plurality. It and Arizona are the only two states that do not observe daylight saving time, and Hawaii and Alaska are the only two states that are not in the contiguous United States.
State of Hawaii
Mokuʻāina o Hawaiʻi' (Hawaiian)
Flag Seal Nickname(s): The Aloha State (official), Paradise, The Islands of Aloha Motto(s): Ua Mau ke Ea o ka ʻĀina i ka Pono
("The Life of the Land is Perpetuated in Righteousness")
State song(s): "Hawaiʻi Ponoʻī
(Hawaiʻi’s Own True Sons)"
The Hawaiian language word Hawaiʻi derives from Proto-Polynesian *Sawaiki, with the reconstructed meaning "homeland"; Hawaiʻi cognates are found in other Polynesian languages, including Māori (Hawaiki), Rarotongan (ʻAvaiki), and Samoan (Savaiʻi). (See also Hawaiki). According to Pukui and Elbert, "Elsewhere in Polynesia, Hawaiʻi or a cognate is the name of the underworld or of the ancestral home, but in Hawaii, the name has no meaning."
The aboriginal culture of Hawaii is Polynesian. Hawaii represents the northernmost extension of the vast Polynesian triangle of the south and central Pacific Ocean. While traditional Hawaiian culture remains only as vestiges in modern Hawaiian society, there are reenactments of the ceremonies and traditions throughout the islands. Some of these cultural influences are strong enough to affect the United States at large, including the popularity (in greatly modified form) of luaus and hula.
Cuisine of Hawaii
The Cuisine of Hawaii is a fusion of many foods brought by immigrants to the Hawaiian Islands including the earliest Polyneseans and Native Hawaiian cuisine as well as American, Chinese, Filipino, Japanese, Korean, Polynesian and Portuguese origins, including plant and animal food sources imported from around the world for agricultural use in Hawaii. Poi made from taro is one of the traditional foods of the islands. Many local restaurants serve the ubiquitous plate lunch featuring the Asian staple, two scoops of rice, a simplified version of American macaroni salad(consisting of macaroni and mayonnaise), and a variety of different toppings ranging from the hamburger patty, a fried egg, and gravy of a Loco Moco, Japanese style tonkatsu or the traditional lu'au favorite, kalua pig and beef, and curry. Spam musubi is an example of the fusion of ethnic cuisine that developed on the islands among the mix of immigrant groups and military personnel. In the 1990s a group of chefs got together to develop Hawaii regional cuisine as a contemporary fusion cuisine.
Customs and etiquette in Hawaii
Some key customs and etiquette in Hawaii are as follows: When visiting a home, it is considered good manners to bring a small gift (for example, a dessert) for one's host. Thus, parties are usually in the form of potlucks. Most locals take their shoes off before entering a home. It is customary for Hawaii families, regardless of ethnicity, to hold a luau to celebrate a child's first birthday. It is customary at Hawaii weddings, especially at Filipino weddings, for the bride and groom to do a Money dance (also called the pandango). Print media and local residents recommend that one refer to non-Hawaiians as "locals of Hawaii" or "people of Hawaii".
Folklore in Hawaii
The folklore in Hawaii in modern times is a mixture of various aspects of Hawaiian mythology and various urban legends that have been passed on regarding various places in the Hawaiian islands. According to Hawaiian legend, night marchers (huaka‘i po in Hawaiian) are ghosts of ancient warriors. Local folklore on the island of Oahu says that one should never carry pork over the Pali Highway connecting Honolulu and Windward Oahu. In Paradise Park and the Manoa Falls Hiking Trail, folk legends say you can hear a spectre screaming. Across the street from Kahala Mall is a graveyard. It is said that if you drive past the remaining portion of this graveyard with your windows open, you will feel somebody else is in your car. The story of the green lady is that of a woman who would visit the gulch of Wahiawa and will take any child that she comes across.
Hawaiian mythology comprises the legends, historical tales, and sayings of the ancient Hawaiian people. It is considered a variant of a more general Polynesian mythology, developing its own unique character for several centuries before about 1800. It is associated with the Hawaiian religion. The religion was officially suppressed in the 19th century, but kept alive by some practitioners to the modern day.
List of Hawaiian state parks
There are many Hawaiian state parks. The Island of Hawaiʻi) has state parks, recreation areas, and historical parks. Kauaʻi has the Ahukini State Recreation Pier, six state parks, and the Russian Fort Elizabeth State Historical Park. Maui has two state monuments, several state parks, and the Polipoli Spring State Recreation Area. Moloka‘i has the Pala'au State Park. Oʻahu has several state parks, a number of state recreation areas, and a number of monuments, including the Ulu Pō Heiau State Monument.
Music of Hawaii
The music of Hawaii includes an array of traditional and popular styles, ranging from native Hawaiian folk music to modern rock and hip hop. Hawaii's musical contributions to the music of the United States are out of proportion to the state's small size. Styles like slack-key guitar are well-known worldwide, while Hawaiian-tinged music is a frequent part of Hollywoodsoundtracks. Hawaii also made a major contribution to country music with the introduction of the steel guitar.
Traditional Hawaiian folk music is a major part of the state's musical heritage. The Hawaiian people have inhabited the islands for centuries and have retained much of their traditional musical knowledge. Their music is largely religious in nature, and includes chanting and dance music. Hawaiian music has had an enormous impact on the music of other Polynesian islands; indeed, music author Peter Manuel called the influence of Hawaiian music a "unifying factor in the development of modern Pacific musics".
Literature in Hawaii
The literature in Hawaii is diverse and includes authors such as Kiana Davenport, Lois-Ann Yamanaka, and Kaui Hart Hemmings, author of The Descendants. Hawaiian magazines include Hana Hou!, Hawaii Business Magazine and Honolulu, among others.
Tourism is an important part of the Hawaii economy. In 2003 alone, according to state government data, there were over 6.4 million visitors to the Hawaiian Islands with expenditures of over $10 billion. Due to the mild year-round weather, tourist travel is popular throughout the year. The summer months and major holidays are the most popular times for outsiders to visit, however, especially when residents of the rest of the United States are looking to escape from cold, winter weather. The Japanese, with their economic and historical ties to Hawaii and the USA as well as relative geographical proximity, are also principal tourists.
Hawaii is home to numerous cultural events. The annual Merrie Monarch Festival is an international Hula competition. The state is also home to theHawaii International Film Festival, the premier film festival for Pacific rim cinema. Honolulu is also home to the state's long running GLBT film festival, the Rainbow Film Festival