LM_NET: Library Media Networking

Previous by DateNext by Date Date Index
Previous by ThreadNext by Thread Thread Index
LM_NET Archive


Several weeks ago I requested information on Christmas in Hawaii.  I didn't
get much response, but this is what I did get:

From: Jane Scott <janes@umd5.umd.edu>

Subject: Re: Christmas in Hawaii

I grew up in Hawaii but our Christmas was a pretty traditional one. We
did gather up the old Christmas trees and burn them in a bonfire on the
beach on New Years. After sitting on the decks of ship for weeks coming
from the mainland they were pretty dry by New Years.
Jane Scott
Reisterstown, MD

Subject: Christmas in Hawaii

Organization: Tennessee Education Network

ALOHA, from Tennessee!
Just a quick little trivia note.  Often Santa arrives at functions via
helicopter or surfboard.  We've seen him parachute in also.  Norfolk pines
are popular Christmas trees.  People often decorate palm trees.
There are so many diverse cultures in Hawaii that many different customs
                                       :) R. Medeiros

From: Mike Young <miyoung@makani.k12.hi.us>

Subject: Re: Christmas in Hawaii (fwd)

Dear Joan,
This isn't necessarily Christmas, but it is a holiday tradition in our
Japanese family.  On New Years eve at midnight after shooting 1000
firecrackers for good luck, everyone comes into the house to eat "mochi
soup" to bring wealth for the new year.  Mochi soup is made from chicken
broth with sliced celery and carrots.  At the time of serving a "mochi
dumpling " is placed in the soup.  It tastes sweet and it is gooey.
Happy Holidays from Hawaii,
Mike Young

From: PAUL LEUNG (LAURIE PURDY) <LP1001@umsd.k12.pa.us>

Subject:  Hawaiian Christmas

     My name is Paul Leung, and I am a social studies teacher in the Upper
Moreland Middle School in Hatboro, Pennsylvania.  I am on our librarian's
computer, so you will probably be receiving the wrong return e-mail
address.  My address is:  "ptleung@mail.comcat.com".
     During the 1989 - 1990 school year (and summers), I took a sabbatical
leave and worked as a nurse (I am also an R.N.) taking care of kids with
leukemia in Hawaii.  I had my own kids in the public schools there, as
well as being a Brownie Girl Scout leader, and picked up on some of the
     For the most part, Christmas in Hawaii is very much like Christmas just
about anywhere in America.  One of the favorite pasttimes is running up
the charge cards, as it is in most parts of the country.  Christmas
decorations include artificial snowmen, Christmassy train scenes (no
trains in Hawaii except for a very short run on one of the outer islands),
etc.  There are a few things which surface which are different, but they
are NOT huge "everybody does this" or "everybody talks about this"
sorts of things.
     One thing is this:  If Santa works from East to West, which he must do
in order to have night time for his entire trip, Hawaii is the last major
population center he visits.  After doing a few sparsely populated island
nations, he stops in Hawaii for a well-deserved rest.  At one of the big
municipal buildings in downtown Honolulu, there is a brick wall with a
fountain at its base.  At Christmas, the city erects a large statue of Santa
which seemed to be about 1 1/2 stories high.  He is gleefully sitting on
the wall, looking exhausted but happy.  His boots are off and sitting on
the wall next to him.  He has already lowered one bare foot into the
fountain and is lowering the other foot to the water.  His tunic is partially
unbuttoned in a relaxed way, and he is leaning back and giving the
Hawaiian shaaka sign (pointer finger and little finger extended, with the
others folded, like the Texas Longhorn sign).  (I'm not sure if I spelled
"shaaka" correctly.)  After all of that work, Santa is essentially done
when he reaches Hawaii and relaxes there.
     Another thing some of the "local" kids do is the story about Santa
coming around in a red outrigger canoe instead of a sleigh.  This is not
the major belief, but it certainly does exist enough to be noticed.  Some
even speak of the "Menehune Santa," but this is mostly from a song.  The
Menehunes were short statured white people who lived on Kauai before
the Polynesians ever arrived, and may either be fact or fiction (some
evidence exists for both theories).
     There are definitely some Hawaiian Christmas songs with island
references, but I do not know any of them except for a few words from
"Menehune Santa," who arrives in his red canoe with his big opu (big
stomach).  My kids will probably remember more if i ask them, so feel
free to e-mail me back.
     We did see the ballet, "The Nutcracker," at Christmas.  We did go
shopping big-time.  We even had a real Christmas tree.  All of the trees
must arrive on one shipload, as they hit ALL of the tree places on the
same day and no more arrived anywhere for the rest of the season.
One thing I remember was my kids had their pictures taken on Santa's lap
while outside while wearing t-shirts, but this is probably true in Florida,
Southern California, the Southwest, etc. as well.  (Where are you
     Anyway, please e-mail me back for more details if you like, and I'll ask
my kids.  They will enjoy the memories.
     Bye for now.
                                                             Paul Leung

Thanks to those who responded.  If I get anymore I will post them.

Joanne Proctor
Most Pure Heart of Mary School
Topeka, KS

Joanne Proctor
Most Pure Heart of Mary School
Topeka, KS

LM_NET Archive Home