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Lomilomi Hana Lima

Lomi lomi Massage

We so often hear people exclaim “I need a vacation to recover from vacation!” after returning from an amazing trip.  With so many fun activities to do and sights to take in, it’s no surprise that your Hawaiian adventure can leave you feeling exhausted by the end.  But there’s something you can do to relax, recharge, and help yourself enjoy your stay to its fullest, and it’s rooted in Hawaiian tradition to boot!

What are we talking about?  Lomi lomi Massage !  Lomi lomi, which means “healing hands” in Hawaiian, is a traditional Polynesian technique that focuses on total rejuvination and healing.  The aim of this practice goes beyond just soothing one’s sore muscles – the focus is to clear the body and soul of any bad energy or blockages, all while improving the immune system, circulation, healing, and flexibility.

R’lax Beauty & Wellness Spa offers lomi lomi massage in addition to all of its other wonderful spa treatments.  Booking a session there during your stay here on Oahu is a must.  Every session is different as lomi lomi is truly focused on the unique physical and spiritual needs of those that receive the practice.  Carve out a little time to treat yourself and reap the benefits of Polynesian history and healing so you can return home after your vacation truly rested!

R-Lax coupon

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5 Things Not To Do in Hawaii

We love to give you tips as to what to do, where to go, and how to have the most fun during your stay in Hawaii, but sometimes sharing what not to do is just as helpful.  Below are a list of five things to be sure to avoid while exploring our beautiful islands.

Don’t Go Out, if in doubt

The beaches in Hawaii are home to some of the most breathtaking waves in the world.  Even when there isn’t a huge swell on the horizon, the currents, riptides, and sheer power of even smaller waves are no joke.  Always watch the water for at least 20 minutes before getting in to gauge the swell.  If you have any doubt about the safety of the conditions, don’t go out!

if in doubt

 

Don’t Turn Your Back on the Water

Same idea.  Mother nature is a fickle creature and the ocean can be the best example of that.  Make sure to be extra vigilant when the waves are up; don’t turn your back to the water and don’t let unattended children too close to the shore.  Heed all signs posted by lifeguards – they’re there for a reason!

Don’t Skimp on Sunscreen

Your mother told you, and now we’re telling you.  Don’t skimp on the sunscreen!  Even on the cloudiest of days you can still get a killer sunburn, and there’s really no faster way to put a damper on your Hawaiian vacation.

Don’t Touch the Turtles

Our honu are truly beautiful creatures, sure to put a smile on your face.  Feel free to watch in awe or photograph them, but don’t get too close and please, no touching.  These are protected marine animals. Give these celebrities the privacy they deserve.  Same goes for monk seals.

honu

Don’t Fear the Locals

We’re a friendly bunch!  Not sure where you are, where you’re going, or what to do?  Just ask!  The aloha spirit is truly alive and well in the islands, so go ahead and ask the locals for advice, directions, or just talk story and get the local scoop.

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Eddie Could Go!

Last Thursday, December 4th, marked the start of the holding period for the most famous, and least run, big wave surfing competition; the Quiksilver In Memory of Eddie Aikau Big Wave Invitational.  Between now and February 28th, 2015, if the surf at Waimea Bay is large enough, the contest that honors the man who had a true passion for big waves and helping others, could run for the first time since 2009.

Eddie Opening Ceremony

 

Photo: ASP/Ed Sloane

The opening ceremony, held on December 4th every year, is truly unique in that it gathers some of the world’s best surfers in one spot – not to surf, but to commemorate Eddie Aikau, a true inspiration to all who know his story.  As stated by Kahu Billy Mitchell, who led the ceremony, “today is not about competition; it’s about passion, respect, and aloha.  The passion these surfers gathered here share with Eddie, respect for one who lived righteously, and aloha, love.  Eddie was all about aloha.  That’s why we make this circle (of surfers) here at Waimea.  A full circle.  Uncut.  Full circle love like Eddie had.  He received so much from this place and he gave more back.”

2010/11 Quiksilver Eddie Opening Ceremony - 021112 - Waimea Bay

 

Photo: ASP/Kelly Cestari

Conditions look favorable for the contest to run this year, its 30th year.  You can learn more about Eddie and sign up to get alerts about the competition here.

 

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CATCHING FIRE, FIRE KNIFE DANCING IN HAWAII

Visiting Hawaii is more than just a trip into the Hawaiian culture; it is a chance to experience many ancient Polynesian cultures still thriving today. A fascinating glimpse into the Samoan culture can be had through a performance unlike any other called ‘ailao afi, the Samoan fireknife dance. It’s a modern innovation and celebration of ancient battle gestures of victory. The ancient battles were fought with hand-held wooden weapons called nifo oti, which means “deadly tooth.”

The lightweight nifo oti was used like a hacking sword. Some wooden swords or clubs had boar tusks or shark teeth attached, while others had sharp teeth carved into the edges. This was eventually combined with another Samoan weapon, the lave, or hook, which was used to snare various body parts of an enemy.

As warfare faded with modern times, the nifo oti became an important element in the Samoan ta’alolo or gift-giving procession that honors special visitors. Young Samoans are credited with developing the twirling motions and dance into its own art form over the years. They modified the knife by using two and even three knives simultaneously with chrome blades and reshaping the hook. In 1946, a young Samoan man, Uluao Letuli from Nuuuli, American Samoa, entertaining in San Francisco became known as the “father” of modern Samoan fireknife dancing when he added flaming pads to each end of the nifo oti. Letuli’s dancing became extremely popular. He performed and taught all the early fireknife dancers, including the Polynesian Cultural Center’s retired Director of Cultural Islands, Pulefano Galea’i, who originated the PCC’s annual World Fire Knife Dance Competition in 1993.

Old Samoan traditions say that the knife dance was originally done to rhythmic chants or songs, but today drumming on a variety of ancient and modern instruments accompanies each Samoan fireknife dance. There were traditional rhythms for various types of Samoan dances and activities, but like the instruments, today’s fireknife dancers use a variety of rapid beats that allude to other Polynesian island influences. You can learn more about this ancient dance and see it live at the Polynesian Cultural Center on Oahu: https://www.seekspot.com/north/polynesian-cultural-center

FIREKNIFE DANCE KEY WORDS
nifo oti — deadly tooth, handheld weapon.

lave — hook — a Samoan weapon used to snare various body parts of an enemy.
‘ailao — knife dance.

mo’emo’e — running movements— traditionally indicated victory in battle.
foot stomping — a sign of challenge or intimidation.
gego — head movements —warriors used to confuse their enemies.
olioli —other movements traditionally used to distract enemies included rolling the knife around the neck, through the legs and around the ankles, and around the back.
folifoli — movements leading up to a strike.
lavalava — wrap-around that dancers wear. They tie it up and tuck like a swimming suit, so no hanging ends snag or hamper the twirling of the nifo oti.

Pate — slit-log drum gouged out of a section of tree branch, only a foot or two in length and easily carried by hand.

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Everyone’s going Coconuts!

Everyone’s going Coconuts!

You are no doubt hearing more and more about the many health benefits of something found in abundance here in Hawaii….coconuts! Modern science is now confirming what many islanders have known all along, that coconuts have a wide range of benefits. Of course coconuts are not found only in Hawaii, but the Hawaiian people have used them as one of their staple foods for centuries and were well aware of the many uses of coconuts. Their sweet meat, juice, milk, and oil were all highly valued. Coconut oil was also used as a cure for illnesses and present day medical studies have proven this to be true. It has been shown to kill some viruses and bacteria, the fungi that causes ringworm, and even parasites such as lice, among other things!

coconut2Coconut water has become very popular at present and can be found in most supermarkets. It boosts energy, improves digestion, and is a great antioxidant. Coconut oil is found in our sunscreens, our shampoos, in many beauty products, and as an excellent cooking oil. Coconuts are truly remarkable and have been an important source of nourishment to people around the world for hundreds of years! While visiting here on Oahu, be sure to take advantage of this tropical blessing, in its many forms, from fresh coconut to coconut water to delicious desserts made from coconut milk, such as the Hawaiian delight called haupia. Don’t miss out on the roadside stands that offer fresh, ice cold, coconut water, straight from the coconut! In other words, go coconuts!

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Congratulating the Graduates…

It is that time again on Oahu for the pomp and ceremony of graduation! A time for honoring, celebrating, congratulating, and recording for posterity, the achievement of high school and college students island-wide! Proud relatives will be taking photos and videos to look back on, and proudly hosting parties to honor the graduates.

For any not familiar with graduations in Hawaii, you are in for a treat when attending one! You see, in addition to the spectacle of cap and gown, often in a beautiful outdoor setting with a glorious sunset as background, we have another tradition. After the ceremony of awarding diplomas, giving speeches, and honoring special achievements, comes the moment when graduates are congratulated by loving friends and family and gifted with a lei. Now we are not talking just a lei or two.. oh no! We are talking about an abundance of lei, showered over the heads of graduates until all you can see are their eyes and your arms can barely encircle them with a hug. It is a wonderful island tradition adding color and the wonderful scent of tropical flowers to the pageantry of the occasion! In addition to flower lei, many are given a money lei, or beautiful silk ribbon lei in the colors of their alma mater.

It is fun to be a part of these festive celebrations of a very special life event, and even more so when it takes place in Hawaii!

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Kamehameha Day, A Holiday in Hawaii

In 1871, while Hawai’i was still a monarchy, Kamehameha Day was established by royal proclamation. King Kamehameha V declared June 11th as a day to remember his great grandfather, King Kamehameha I, unifier of all Hawai’i. When Hawai’i became a state many years later, this day became the first officially recognized state holiday. Today in Hawai’i, you will continue to see and hear numerous references to this remarkable figure from Hawai’i’s past.

Born on the Big Island of Hawai’i in 1758, the same year as Haley’s comet appeared in Hawaiian skies, Kamehameha was, from the beginning, a man of legend. There are numerous stories of his many feats as a warrior before becoming king, but, most importantly, he accomplished what no other had in Hawai’i’s history when he united all the islands under one rule. Thus began the Hawaiian monarchy, which continued until the 19th century! Under his twenty-four year rule, Hawai’i became a recognized political entity and trade was established with America and Europe. King Kamehameha was considered an honest, just, and innovative ruler during a time of great change in Hawaii.

There are four statues in honor of this great king, but the one best known and most photographed stands across from Iolani Palace, in front of the Aliiolani Hale, in downtown Honolulu. Each year, on Kamehameha Day, the statue is draped with many beautiful, 25 ft long lei in tribute. A floral parade, the longest in Hawai’i and very much like the Rose Parade of California, takes place in Waikiki, followed by a Ho’olaulea (festival) with live entertainment, hula, cultural games and demonstrations, food booths, and more! Other islands also hold events in his honor, but if you are on Oahu, you don’t want to miss out on the spectacle and festivities of Kamehameha Day!

King Kamehameha I is a not to be forgotten part of Hawaii’s history. The monarchy no longer rules and Hawai’i is now a part of the United States of America, but Kamehameha is still remembered with respect on this state holiday with royal ties, Kamehameha Day!

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Congratulations to our valued Partner HAWAIIAN SURF ADVENTURES!

Hawaiian Surf Adventures, a watersports company in Koko Marina Center, today announced that it has received a TripAdvisor® Certificate of Excellence award.


Remembering Loved Ones on Memorial Day … In Oahu’s Own Unique Way

Many Places in the United States will be having different celebrations and commemorative events in honor of Memorial Day, on Monday, May 26th, but if you are here on Oahu on that special day you can be a part of a truly unique and breath-taking ceremony. On that day, at Ala Moana Beach Park’s Magic Island, thousands will gather for the Memorial Day Lighting of the Lanterns Festival. More than 5,000 lanterns will set sail at dusk, inscribed with names of loved ones who’ve died and with prayers and wishes for them.
Lighting candles has long been a way of remembering departed loved ones in many cultures and religions and this lantern festival is a time-honored Buddhist rite to pay respect to ancestors and to family who have recently passed away. However, on Oahu, the lighting of the lanterns and Memorial Day have combined to give people a symbolic and solemnly poignant way to honor those who have died, whether in war, in natural disaster, from accidents, or from illness. Those who participate (you do not have to be Buddhist) say it is a touching release of the pain of loss and an embracing of the love they feel for those they are remembering.
Each year the number of persons who gather, either to participate or to witness the ceremony, grows larger. Lanterns are free but the number of lanterns is limited, so come early as the lanterns are given out on a first come basis. The event is all day with the ceremony itself occurring at dusk. If you cannot be present, the event will be broadcast on local TV and streamed live over the internet, but nothing takes the place of being present and witnessing this heart-tugging, memorable experience! Words cannot do justice to the truly stunning beauty of hundreds of lanterns, their light reflecting in the rippling waters, as they float on the waves. It is unique to Hawaii, where cultures and customs often come together in such beautiful harmony, so come be a part of Oahu’s special way of remembering loved ones on Memorial Day.

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May Day in Hawaii

May Day and soo much more!
They say, “May Day is Lei Day” in Hawaii, but that doesn’t begin to say it all. Here in Hawaii, May Day is a celebration of both Hawaii’s roots, its past monarchy, and its present assimilation of numerous cultures and customs into a unique heritage of traditions. One of these traditions is the May Day performance at local schools.
Watching a recent May Day program at one of the grade schools was a pleasant reminder of our rich diversity, demonstrated through song and dance. It began with the pageantry of the May Day court of queen and king, along with a prince and princess to represent each of the major islands. The pomp and ceremony in the presentation of the court demonstrated the respect still shown for the former monarchy. They performed a variety of hula, some filled with grace and beauty, and others with the masculine machismo and verve of ancient chants. Then there were dances and music representative of other cultures which have become a part of Hawaii, such as Tahiti, Samoa, Brazil, Japan, the Philippines, and more. All the dances were performed by the grade-schoolers, with exuberant enthusiasm, to the applause of proud parents, family, and friends.
The faces of the appreciative audience reflected the numerous backgrounds also shown in the music being presented, yet, with all their diverse features, each face wore one major similarity; a smile. You leave a May Day performance feeling a true sense of Aloha, and, if you are blessed enough to call Hawaii home, a renewed appreciation for where you live. Whether you are a visitor, a malahini, a kama’aina, or a local with ties going way back in Hawaii’s history, a May Day performance is a fun way to celebrate the uniqueness of Hawaii. May Day may be Lei Day, but it is also so much more!

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