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Hawaiian Christmas Traditions

christmas trees 1 : palm trees 4Christmas came to Hawaii several decades ago along with some Christian missionaries and, since then, several Hawaiian Christmas traditions have developed. Hey, we aren’t the mainland, so we do Christmas our own way!

Check out these 8 fun facts about Hawaiian Christmas traditions:

#1 – That Santa suit is too hot for Hawaii! Instead of wearing that traditional red velvet suit with furry trim, Hawaiian Santa wears shorts and an aloha shirt – much more practical for a hot Hawaiian Christmas!

#2 – We call Santa “Kanakaloka,”  which is the Hawaiian word for Santa Claus. “Merry Christmas” in Hawaiian is “Mele Kalikimaka.”

#3 – Santa doesn’t need his sleigh here in Hawaii. Instead, he arrives on the islands in an outrigger canoe pulled by dolphins. How awesome is that?!?

#4 – Our Christmas dinners include more than just turkey. In Hawaii, it is common to have a Christmas luau that includes imu, which is a whole pig roasted in an underground oven. There are lots of traditional sides, from taro to sushi. And yes, we have turkey and pie, too!

#5 – The first recorded Christmas in Hawaii was in 1786, even though Hawaii didn’t actually start really celebrating the season until the 1820s or so. This is because in 1786, Captain George Dixon had docked his ship on the island of Kauai and, since it was Christmas, he threw a big Christmas dinner and celebration for his crew.

#6 – Before Christmas, Hawaiians had “Makahiki,” which was a four-month celebration sometime around the New Year. The celebration was dedicated to peace and goodwill and Hawaiians spent the time feasting, dancing, singing, playing sports, and just generally having a lot of fun. Work was cut short during this time and wars were forbidden.

#7 – Yup, we have Christmas trees, but they have to be shipped in by boat! Residents who opt out of the traditional Christmas evergreen look often choose to decorate palm trees for a distinctly Hawaiian flair.

#8A lot of locals spend Christmas Day at the beach … and if you’re here for the holidays, you should, too!

Comment (1)

  • […] If you have the keiki (kids) along with you in Hawaii, remember that it’s not too late for a visit with Santa! Wouldn’t it be cool to show the kids that Santa even visits Hawaii? And here, Santa is really cool because he doesn’t arrive on a sleigh pulled by reindeer – he arrives in an outrigger canoe pulled by dolphins! […]

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