Aloha! Whether you’re visiting Hawaii or learning about its culture, you’ll want to know how to properly greet others and say goodbye. Exchanging a cheerful ‘aloha’ or ‘aloha kakahiaka’ (good morning) when meeting and a warm ‘aloha’ or ‘a hui hou’ (until we meet again) when parting expresses the spirit of aloha that characterizes these islands.
If you’re short on time, here’s a quick answer to your question: The most common Hawaiian greetings are ‘aloha’ and ‘aloha kakahiaka’ for hello, and the common goodbyes are ‘a hui hou’ and ‘a hui hou kākou’. But Hawaiian has many more traditional and beautiful ways to greet and farewell.
Common Hawaiian Greetings
When visiting Hawaii, it’s important to understand the local customs and greetings. Hawaiians place a strong emphasis on hospitality and showing respect to others. Here are some of the most common Hawaiian greetings you should know:
Aloha – The Universal Greeting
Aloha is perhaps the most well-known Hawaiian word and is used as a greeting and farewell. It has a deeper meaning than just a simple “hello” or “goodbye.” Aloha encompasses love, affection, peace, and compassion. When saying aloha, it’s important to convey these feelings with a warm smile and genuine sincerity.
Aloha Kakahiaka – Good Morning
In Hawaii, starting the day off right is important, and saying “Aloha Kakahiaka” is a great way to do just that. This phrase is used to greet someone in the morning and is a friendly way to wish them a good start to their day. It’s often accompanied by a warm smile and a genuine interest in how the person is doing.
Aloha Au Ia ‘Oe – Hello to You
If you want to greet someone with a more formal tone, you can use the phrase “Aloha Au Ia ‘Oe.” This greeting is a way of saying “hello” and is often used in more official settings or when meeting someone for the first time. It’s a respectful way to acknowledge the other person and show your appreciation for their presence.
In Hawaiian culture, greetings are more than just words; they are a way of connecting with others and showing respect. Embrace the spirit of aloha when using these greetings, and you’ll be warmly welcomed by the people of Hawaii.
Traditional Hawaiian Greetings
Mālama Pono – Take Care
In Hawaiian culture, the concept of “Mālama Pono” is deeply ingrained. It is a beautiful way of expressing care and concern for one another. When you say “Mālama Pono” to someone, you are essentially wishing them to take care of themselves and to live in a way that promotes well-being. It’s more than just a simple greeting; it’s a reminder to prioritize self-care and to consider the welfare of others. In a fast-paced world, where we often forget to slow down and look after ourselves, the Hawaiian greeting “Mālama Pono” serves as a gentle nudge to prioritize our physical, mental, and emotional health. So, next time you meet someone, try incorporating this meaningful Hawaiian greeting into your conversation and spread the message of self-care.
E Komo Mai – Welcome
When you hear the phrase “E Komo Mai,” you know you are being warmly welcomed into a space. Whether it’s a friend’s home, a restaurant, or a cultural event, this Hawaiian greeting is an invitation to come in and be part of the community. The phrase translates to “come in” or “enter,” but its meaning goes beyond a literal invitation. It signifies inclusivity, hospitality, and the spirit of aloha. When you say “E Komo Mai,” you are not only inviting someone to physically enter a space but also welcoming them with open arms, making them feel accepted and valued. It’s a beautiful way to create a sense of belonging and connection, fostering a positive atmosphere wherever you go.
A Noho Mai – Stay and Rest
In Hawaiian, “A Noho Mai” is used to bid someone to stay and rest. It’s a gentle invitation to linger a little longer, relax, and enjoy the company. The phrase encapsulates the Hawaiian value of taking time to appreciate the present moment and savor the joys of life. It encourages us to slow down, unwind, and embrace the concept of “island time,” where everything moves a little slower and people prioritize relaxation and enjoyment. So, the next time you’re in the company of friends or loved ones and want to extend their stay, use the phrase “A Noho Mai” to invite them to relax and make the most of their time with you. It’s a heartfelt gesture that shows you value their presence and want them to experience the true essence of Hawaiian hospitality.
Casual Goodbyes in Hawaiian
When it comes to bidding farewell in Hawaiian, there are a few phrases that locals use in casual settings. These phrases not only convey a sense of warmth and aloha but also reflect the unique cultural heritage of the Hawaiian Islands. Let’s explore some of these casual goodbyes:
A Hui Hou – Until We Meet Again
A Hui Hou is a lovely way to say goodbye in Hawaiian. It translates to “until we meet again” and is often used among friends and loved ones. This phrase encapsulates the spirit of the Hawaiian culture, which emphasizes the importance of connection and the belief that encounters are never truly goodbye, but rather a temporary farewell. So, if you’re parting ways with someone you hope to see again, don’t hesitate to use “A Hui Hou.”
Aloha – Farewell
While Aloha is commonly known as a greeting, it can also be used as a farewell in Hawaiian. This versatile word holds a deeper meaning than just a simple “goodbye.” It represents love, respect, and a deep sense of connection to both the people and the land. So, if someone says “Aloha” as they bid you farewell, know that they are wishing you well and sending their aloha with you on your journey.
Mahalo – Thank You
Mahalo is a word you will often hear in Hawaii, and it means “thank you.” Although it is primarily used to express gratitude, it can also be used as a casual way to say goodbye. When someone says “Mahalo” as they part ways with you, it is their way of thanking you for your time and expressing their appreciation for the connection you shared. So, don’t be surprised if you hear “Mahalo” as a goodbye in the Hawaiian Islands.
These casual goodbyes in Hawaiian not only reflect the unique cultural values of the islands but also serve as a reminder of the importance of connection and gratitude. So, the next time you find yourself bidding farewell in Hawaii, remember to use these phrases to leave a lasting impression of aloha.
Formal Ways to Say Goodbye in Hawaii
Aloha Aku, Aloha Mai – Love Given, Love Received
When it comes to formal ways of saying goodbye in Hawaii, one phrase that is commonly used is “Aloha Aku, Aloha Mai.” This phrase translates to “Love Given, Love Received.” It is a beautiful way to express gratitude and appreciation for the time spent together. By saying this, you are acknowledging the love and kindness that has been exchanged between you and the person you are saying goodbye to.
Whether it is a farewell to a friend, a colleague, or a loved one, using “Aloha Aku, Aloha Mai” adds a heartfelt touch to your goodbye. It emphasizes the importance of the relationship and the positive impact it has had on your life.
Ka Lā Hiki Ola – Until the Day of Life
Another formal way to bid farewell in Hawaii is by saying “Ka Lā Hiki Ola,” which means “Until the Day of Life.” This phrase carries a sense of hope and anticipation for a future reunion. It implies that although you are parting ways for now, you believe that you will meet again in the future.
Saying “Ka Lā Hiki Ola” is a way of expressing optimism and positivity during the farewell. It creates a sense of connection and reassurance that the bond between you and the person you are saying goodbye to will endure. It leaves the door open for future encounters and reminds both parties that the relationship is not over, but simply taking a temporary break.
Lā hele mai ‘oe, e mālama ‘ia – Go with care
When it is time to say goodbye in a formal manner in Hawaii, you may choose to use the phrase “Lā hele mai ‘oe, e mālama ‘ia,” which translates to “Go with care.” This expression carries a sense of concern and well-wishing for the person who is leaving.
By saying “Lā hele mai ‘oe, e mālama ‘ia,” you are reminding the person to take care of themselves and stay safe during their journey or while they are away. It shows that you genuinely care about their well-being and want them to have a smooth and positive experience.
This phrase is often used when bidding farewell to someone who is embarking on a new adventure or traveling to a different place. It serves as a gentle reminder to stay cautious and take care of themselves throughout their journey.
From ‘aloha’ to ‘a hui hou’, the Hawaiian language offers many beautiful ways to greet and bid farewell. Using these special phrases during your Hawaiian vacation or when interacting with Hawaiian culture expresses the spirit of aloha. So try out an authentic Hawaiian greeting and goodbye next chance you get – your new Hawaiian friends will appreciate it!
We’ve covered the most common, traditional, casual, and formal Hawaiian greetings and goodbyes. From the all-purpose ‘aloha’ to the formal ‘ka lā hiki ola’, you now have many wonderful phrases to open and close conversations with the aloha spirit. So use this Hawaiian language guide to make memorable connections. A hui hou…until we meet again!