Summer Vacation: the History of Getting Down Islander Style

by Lorna
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Summer is finally about to be here, and we can’t hardly wait to break out the bikinis, the board wax, and the beach.  Before we let loose and get buck wild though, it’s always appropriate to give a little nod and remember where our fave beach fashion and pastimes come from.  That’s right; we’re talkin’ about Hawaii.

 Hawaiian style Summer

Nobody knows Summer like Hawaiians know Summer, and to prove it we’re breaking down the history behind the hottest beach trends of the modified generation.  Just check out what the great 50th state has given us in terms of fashion and fun:

The Exotic Flower

 beautiful tropical flower belly rings

Tropical flower jewelry is a huge part of beach hangin’ fashion, but did you know what most “tropical flowers” are modeled after?  The vast majority of floral pieces are interpretations of the subtropical rosa sinensis, or the common hibiscus.  Growing primarily in temperate tropical and subtropical climates, the hibiscus is a large, five-petalled flower with a long and highly visible center stamen.  It’s very recognizable in traditional Hawaiian dress and parts of the plant are used in everything from hair ornaments, to grass skirts, and even food.

The Tribal Tattoo

 fun tribal style temporary tattoos

Whether your Summer skin art is all ink or fun and faux, if it’s tribal style you can probably attribute either its color or design to our island neighbors.  Various ancient Polynesian groups were known to practice tattooing with dark, naturally derived inks, and many of our modern tribal tattoo elements are revisions of simpler designs originally used by these or similar ancient tribes.

The Beach Party

If a fun seaside gathering is your idea of heaven, then here’s one more chance for us to give Hawaii its due.  Perhaps the original birth of the beach party, the Hawaiians have practiced the hukilau for centuries.  Beginning in ancient times, large families or even whole tribes would gather together to cast an enormous net from the shore, and afterwards the fish would be shared amongst the group.  Gradually over the centuries, this hukilau style of fishing would evolve to into more elaborate celebrations, often including more traditional food and culture.  Today, the word hukilau is used to refer to any large seaside soiree, and the party can incorporate anything from hula and fire dancing, to the passing down of native Hawaiian legends, and sometimes the roasting of an entire pig.  How’s that for beach barbecue?

by Lorna

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