Aloha Hawaii! Elsa, you better watch out, no snow castle for you in the 50th states of the USA, but Ukulele and flower necklaces to celebrate this awaited and magical time of the year. Hawaii is the eternal dream-like destination, but there are times of the year that the stay can be more special than others, and Hawaii during Christmas is definitely something you don’t want to miss. Spending Christmas in Hawaii can sound silly, but it’s probably the state of the USA that knows the best how to make it spectacular in its own way, reuniting all the symbols of Christmas mixed up with local features. Official since 1862 thanks to King Kamehameha IV, Christmas Eve is since then a national holiday in the archipelago and the autochthones definitely know how to make it big! Pack your swimsuits and discover with us what is Xmas in Hawaii!
Christmas without snow
First Hawaii Christmas fact: the weather. Even if it’s wintertime in this part of the globe as well, the temperatures are very pleasant and usually don’t go under 26/27 degrees Celsius. So, no snow, no warm coat, no hot ginger teas, and no chimney. So how to have our snowman? How Santa will enter hour houses? Where is our beloved decorated Christmas tree? How Santa will dress up in such hot weather? Where are Santa’s sleigh and its reindeers? What about the Christmas Market?
Don’t worry, Hawaiian people found a way not to disturb too much the collective imaginary around Christmas but cook it on its own; therefore, Santa is still sliding but on a surfboard, wearing a short-sleeved version of his red and white outfit; or even on a canoe dragged by dolphins; a sandman gives the change to the snowman, or a snowman dressed up with Hawaiian clothes; Palm trees decorated with tropical flowers in an explosion of colors (you better as it kitschy…); you can even see ornate Ukuleles and surfboard glowing on the streets; to complete the picture, the Kalikimaka Market, the Hawaiian version of the traditional Christmas Market, gathering hundreds of shops offering culinary specialties but also Hawaiian craftworks or jewelry. kind of an updated version of Christmas, much glitterier and much more exciting!
How do we actually celebrate Christmas Eve in Hawaii?
And, after the attributes of Christmas, what about the ceremonies themselves? How do we actually celebrate Christmas Eve in Hawaii? On the 24th of December, Ahiahi Kalimaka, the name for Christmas Eve, is celebrated like a local traditional holiday: a Luau, name for Hawaiian Banquet. Most Hawaiian people go to the beach to have a picnic, and then jump head up in the water or go surfing. On the beach, music bands set the ambiance by playing their own versions of Christmas songs with Ukuleles and guitars. Bystanders are asked to dance the Hula when they pass by, covering their heads with a Christmas hat and a Hawaiian flower necklace. Santa Claus, aka Kanakaloka, often visit Waikiki Beach in December on a canoe and give up on his traditional outfit for a Hawaiian flowered shirt. As well, a lot of Hawaiian Christmas parades and concerts are starting mid-December, on the beaches and in the streets.
Hawaiian people are multi-ethnical, and we feel it the most in its cuisine, mixing Asian influences, European, American, and locals. Therefore, between the traditional stuffed turkey and ham, we find sashimi, lumpia (fried spring rolls with banana, vegetables, or beef), tonkatsu (fried pork cutlet breaded), or roasted pork kalua, naked in an underground oven. For the dessert, the local cake is made out of macadamia nuts and pineapple. We find also pie with Haupia, chocolate, litchis, and mandarine in almond jelly, or bibingka, sweet rice with cocoa.
Isn’t it all mouth-watering? What are you waiting to plan your next Christmas trip to Hawaii?