Hawaiian Islands – Paradise of The Pacific | History, Culture, and People

Hawaii is a state in the Western United States located in the Pacific Ocean about 2,000 miles from the U.S. mainland. It is the only state outside North America,
the only state composed entirely of islands, and the only state in the tropics.
As one of only six majority-minority states, it has the nation’s only Asian American plurality, its largest Buddhist community, and the largest proportion of multiracial people.

Settled by Polynesians sometime around the year 800 AD, Hawaii was home to numerous independent chiefdoms.
Ancient Polynesian voyagers journeyed across the ocean using only the stars to navigate, coming upon the uninhabited islands and staking claim to what would one day be Hawaii.
Over the next thousand years, more and more settlers would come across the islands. A unique Hawaiian culture developed.

Nowadays, Hawaii is a beautiful tropical vacation hot spot unlike any other in the world.
From its beautiful white sandy beaches and its majestic mountains and steep valleys to its city life, there really is something for everyone to enjoy.
From the awe-inspiring natural wonders of Hawaii Volcanoes National Park to the poignant beauty of Kalaupapa National Historical Park on Molokai,
there are a variety of experiences and adventures waiting to be discovered.
Some parts of Hawaii are so beautiful and look the same as they did thousands of years ago. It is quite easy to find a piece of secluded paradise if taking the scenic route, instead of traveling the highways.
Hawaii is home to multiple beautiful animals that thrive near the coastal regions, and they are easy to spot if you keep an eye out for them.
You might even see the green sea turtle grazing on seaweed or seals lounging on the beaches. It’s important, however, to respect Hawaiian laws and wildlife; don’t get too close and never touch.
There are numerous legal hiking spots all over the island that offer panoramic views of the beautiful ocean as well as the mountains.
The island of Hawaii, aka the Big Island, maybe the largest island in the Hawaiian chain, but it’s also the youngest.
The island was made from the composites of multiple volcanic eruptions, and it’s not done growing; there are still four active volcanoes on the island today.
You can see two of these at Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, including Mauna Loa, the largest active volcano on Earth.

The island of Molokai, which is home to a high percentage of native Hawaiians, the highest sea cliffs in the world, and the state’s longest continuous fringing reef.
It’s also where you’ll find Halawa Valley, a sacred place in Hawaiian history. What was once a place of worship and home to ancient Polynesians.

The Hawaiian culture is very much alive, and it shows and shines through its people! From its city and beach names,
which are almost all still in the Hawaiian language, to people speaking Hawaiian at the grocery store, the islands thrive on Hawaiian culture and its survival.
The state’s residents are some of the friendliest people around. No matter where you go, you’ll find smiling faces.

Today, Hawaiian culture reflects a mixture of Eastern and Western influences.
It is the result of overlay after overlay of varied cultural groups. The original culture remains evident in the islands,
but the Native Hawaiian aesthetic has become diminished and diluted over the years through death and intermarriage.
Native Hawaiian culture underwent a renaissance beginning in the 1970s, most notably with the resurgence of the hula, the voyaging canoe, the art of tattooing, and its music and language.
Most Hawaiian inhabitants know at least some Hawaiian words and observe cultural practices including the giving of the lei, a garland of flowers.
The “Aloha Spirit,” however commercialized it has become, is reflective of the way many diverse groups live together on the small islands.
In terms of sports, Hawaii is probably most associated with surfing, which has roots in ancient Polynesia but emerged as a modern sport in Hawaii in the early 20th century.
The islands have long been a surfers’ mecca, especially at the Banzai Pipeline, Waimea Bay, and Sunset Beach.

Today, Hawaiian culture may hold many of the answers sought in a rapidly changing world.
The spirit of aloha – being in the presence of and sharing the essence of life – teaches us lessons of peace, kindness, compassion, and responsibility to future generations.
These lessons are expressed through chant, music, hula, arts and cultural practices, and through the warm, genuine greetings that are a hallmark of Hawaiian hospitality.

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