Tropical Flower Symbolism: Spiritual Meanings of Hawaiian Flowers
Tropical Flower Symbolism: Spiritual Meanings of Hawaiian Flowers
What do you picture when you think of Hawaii?
One of the images in your mind is probably a floral garland – known as leis – that people wear around their necks.
Flowers have huge importance, significance, and symbolism in Hawaiian culture. There are many ways that you can wear them, and they are associated with gifts, ceremonies, and celebrations including greetings, weddings, and accomplishments.
But what is the significance of these beautiful tropical flowers?
The Plumeria Flower
The plumeria flower is one of the most significant and powerful within Hawaiian culture.
It is either a bright pink or creamy yellow color and has a strong and sweet scent that is adored by many. In the past, only royalty was allowed to wear this flower due to its wonderful smell.
The plumeria flower represents birth and love; spring and new beginnings. It’s an extremely positive and hopeful symbol, so it’s no surprise that it’s extremely popular and adored.
In Hawaiian culture, the plumeria can be used to symbolize a woman’s romantic status when worn in the hair. If the flower is behind a woman’s left ear, she is in a relationship. If it is worn behind the right ear, she is willing to meet a romantic partner.
In Buddhist culture, the plumeria represents immortality. This is probably because the tree will bloom even if it is uprooted. The tree is considered sacred, and in Laos is planted outside every Buddhist temple.
You can find the plumeria flower all over the island. But it’s not a native flower. It was introduced to Hawaii by a German botanist in 1860. The plant thrived in the tropical climate and volcanic soil that is found in Hawaii.
The Hawaiian Hibiscus Flower
The hibiscus is Hawaii’s state flower.
This yellow flower is striking and beautiful. The vivid color signifies delicate beauty and joyfulness.
The Hawaiian hibiscus shrubs bloom almost every day, but the blossoms only last for a day. In the past, they were considered an endangered flower. Now, you can find the hibiscus growing nearly everywhere, with over thirty new species on the island.
The Bird of Paradise Flower
The bird of paradise flower is a striking orange and blue blossom that is in indigenous to Hawaii. It grows between the shiny leaves of the hibiscus bush and looks like a bird hiding among the bushes.
The bird of paradise flower symbolizes magnificence and joy. Like a bird who is free to soar in the skies, the flower also represents freedom and liberty.
The Red Tower Ginger Flower
The red tower ginger flower is difficult to miss.
It is a spiky bright red blossom which grows in a spiral shape. It looks similar to the outside of a pineapple, with its many pints. The red tower giant flower can grow to a large size, making it even more striking.
The flower can mean diversity, wealth and burning passion. It’s considered a good sign if you find a red tower ginger growing nearby.
The Orchid Flower
Hawaiian orchids are available in a huge range of dazzling colors. You’re most likely to spot them in the popular and well-known purple and white leis.
The orchid symbolized refinement, beauty, and luxury. In ancient Greece they also represented virility.
There are four varieties of orchid that are indigenous to Hawaii. You’ll find them growing in the rain forest.
The Ginger Flower
The flower of ginger is the small white buds that grow from the hive of the stems. You can find ginger flowers in red, pink, blue, white or yellow on Hawaii.
Ginger is believed to be a very useful plant and flower, used for everything from helping stomach pains to shampooing hair.
The Pikake Flower
This is the Hawaiian name for jasmine. It was named by Hawaii’s Princess Kaiulani whose favorite bird was a peacock. This is why pikake translates to ‘peacock’.
The pikake has a light, bright and gentle scent. They are often worn by brides, hula dancers, and honored guests.
The Ohia Lehua Flower
The ohia lehua flower is often related to Pele, the volcano goddess. The flower is known as the first flower to begin growing on lava flows after a volcanic eruption.
The legend says Pele was intrigued by a handsome man called Ohia. But Ohia was in love with another woman called Lehua. Heartbroken, Pele transformed Ohia into a twisted tree. Lehua begged for Ohia to be returned. Instead, Pele transformed Lehua into a blossom on the Ohia tree so the lovers could be together forever.
That’s why It’s believed that, if you pick a lehua flower off of the tree, it will rain. It is the tears of Ohia and Lehua as they are separated.
The Naupaka Flower
The naupaka flower is known for its unique shape; it looks like half of the flower is missing.
The Hawaiian legend claims that a princess named Naupaka fell in love with a common man that she was forbidden from marrying. An elderly wise woman told them of a distant temple where they should pray for guidance. They traveled for days but, when they arrived, the priest said that he could not help. A heartbroken Naupaka took the white flower from her hair and tore it in half. She gave one half of the flower to her lover and told him to return to the beach. She stayed in the mountain.
That’s why one type of naupaka plant grows in the mountains, and the other grows on the beach, while both look like only half a flower.
The Symbolism of Tropical Flowers
The tropical flowers associated with Hawaii are beautiful, vibrant and colorful. The leis and floral decorations associated with the island make the people seem welcoming and friendly.
But they are so much more than that. Each individual flower has a specific story, meaning or symbol behind it. By knowing more about the flowers, we are able to understand more about Hawaii’s culture, history, and people.
Discover and celebrate Hawaii’s tropical flower culture for yourself here.
Time to Get Festive: A Brief History of the Hawaiian Luau
Time to Get Festive: A Brief History of the Hawaiian Luau
Sometimes, you just gotta party. And there may be no better place to do that than at a Hawaiian luau. The luau is one of the most popular must-dos on the average Hawaii tourist’s wishlist. But the luau is more than just a tourist attraction. It’s also part of Hawaii’s rich indigenous cultural history, dating back hundreds of years. Recognizing the cultural history of a tradition is vital to respect it, so it pays to learn a little something before you attend a luau.
So let’s get festive and take a brief look at the history of the Hawaiian luau.
What Is a Luau?
In the modern sense, a luau is a pretty informal thing. It’s a broad term encompassing outdoor parties with lots of food and entertainment, and usually a large number of people. Combine a large backyard BBQ with a more traditional feast, and you’re somewhere close to the idea of the luau.
Hawaiians will celebrate a wide range of occasions with a luau, from birthdays and graduations to weddings. A luau is an extension of the close-knit, warm, and friendly islander lifestyle that forms the basis of Hawaiian culture.
As tourists come to Hawaii seeking to immerse themselves in the culture, the luau has expanded to an all-purpose party — no occasion needed.
All in the Past
Like the Spanish siesta, we think of the luau is an indelible part of Hawaiian culture — an idea we can’t fully translate into English terms. But it all had to start somewhere.
The exact origins of luau are almost certainly lost in the mists of time. Social rituals most often grow out of small conventions that snowball over time to become an established part of a country’s culture.
The luau is doubtless inextricable from Hawaii’s islander culture. Island peoples typically form close-knit communities with a strong sense of identity. At the same time, they have access to the rich bounty of the ocean and their tropical climate. Put the two together, and the origins of the luau seem obvious.
One of the earliest traceable forms of the luau is the aha’aina. Aha’aina is still the word many modern Hawaiians use to refer the luau, but it originally offered to the royal and religious version of the tradition.
Once upon a time, the aha’aina was a great gathering to celebrate momentous events like milestones in life or victory in battle. They were also a way for chiefs to display and celebrate their status.
These early ancestors of the luau had some key differences from its modern form. For starters, men and women weren’t allowed to eat together. Women were also forbidden from eating certain foods, such as bananas and pork. Not quite the inclusive spirit made famous by the modern luau!
Hawaii underwent a wide range of changes after early contact with European explorers. European weaponry and support led to the forging of a unified Kingdom of Hawaii under the Kamehameha dynasty.
As European ideas began to arrive in Hawaii, explorers also took stories about Hawaii back to their homelands. As with many of the countries “discovered” by European explorers, Hawaii became an exotic and exciting place to the people back home.
This interest in Hawaii as a destination would eventually give rise to modern tourists, who would have their own impact on the luau.
Breaking Down Barriers
King Kamehameha II, the second king of the Kingdom of Hawaii (and nothing to do with Son Goku at all) was a game-changer for the luau and beyond.
After King Kamehameha I died, one of his wives, Ka’ahumanu, used her influence with Kamehameha II to break down the kapu (a kind of religious and social set of taboos) in a quest to put Hawaii’s ancient religion behind them.
One of these taboos included the separation of men and women at mealtimes.
The result was a recognizably modern shift in Hawaii’s culture. With that, the modern version of the luau finally became a reality.
Kamehameha II’s luaus were the stuff of legend. The king loved a good party and the new, inclusive nature of the luau allowed them to build a new sense of unified cultural identity.
As knowledge of Hawaii spread throughout the world, many foreigners came to see the luau in action, and many more heard about it back home. With the world now opened up by explorers, Hawaii began to see their modern evolution: the tourist.
Like many cultural traditions around the world, luau has taken on a second life in the wake of pop-cultural interest. The end result is half traditional, half modern.
With the evolution of modern global culture, Hawaii has become a popular tourist stop. The islands have featured in or inspired films like Lilo & Stitch, Moana, and Jurassic Park, which has only nudged the popularity of the islands as a destination higher.
The romanticized laid-back islander culture appeals to mainlanders looking for a more relaxed way of life, and the natural beauty of the islands holds obvious appeal.
Traditional luau is now hard to separate from its tourist-inspired modern incarnation. Modern luaus tend less toward the traditional and more toward a giant, open-air party for everyone — but particularly to expectant tourists. And as old traditions give way more and more to modern society, the global take on the luau has displaced most of the original cultural significance.
But the luau still holds an important role in the lives of native Hawaiians, who honor the tradition by holding a luau to celebrate major life events and cement the bonds of family and community.
The Once and Future Luau
That’s about it for the history of the luau. Its modern incarnation still echoes its ancient roots, but it has evolved to become its own unique aspect of modern Hawaiian culture. And there’s no telling where it goes from here, as past and present continue to combine to build the future.
Looking to set the tone for a luau? Get your lei today.
3 Surprising Ways the Kilauea Eruption Affected Hawaii Flower Farms
3 Surprising Ways the Kilauea Eruption Affected Hawaii Flower Farms
The Kilauea Eruption impacted Hawaii flower farms in many ways. Read this article to learn some of the more surprising impacts and to know about one farm that is still fine able to ship to the mainland US.
When the Kilauea eruption started at the beginning of May, it set off a chain of events that were absolutely devastating for the island. Not only were residences affected, but also many businesses, including the entire Hawaii flower industry.
Even though Hawaii ranks number forty in terms of population, it accounts for over 4% of the entire US flower industry. Given the scope of this eruption, it’s not hard to imagine the problems it has created.
To fully understand what’s occurred on the island, we want to dig into this issue by taking a close look at three surprising ways the Kilauea eruption has directly impacted island flower farms.
1. There’s a Shortage of Island Flowers
Because the eruption was incredibly powerful, the destruction of flowers isn’t all that surprising. What is surprising is the full magnitude of this destruction.
The scope of what the lava has done means it will still take more time to fully assess the damage across the entire island. But based on estimates by industry experts, it’s likely that half of Hawaii’s cut flowers are gone.
Part of what makes this so shocking is just how quickly it happened. When one orchid farm evacuated on June 1st, their surroundings looked sunny and beautiful.
Following that evacuation, it took less than 24 hours for over a quarter of the nursery to be destroyed. Fast forward just 48 more hours, and the entire 12-acre nursery was wrecked by the lava flow.
What makes this situation even more challenging is island flowers aren’t something that can quickly be regenerated by investing money. Instead, it takes a lot of time and care for wiped out flowers to return.
Using an example like orchids, the minimum amount of time to get fully back up with production is three years. That’s assuming all conditions remain optimal. A single factor going wrong could easily add another year of waiting.
2. Prices Have Gone Up
Although many flower farms around the island were completely wiped out, just as many people still want all the beautiful flowers that Hawaii has to offer.
In fact, all the media attention around the eruption has led to even more interest from the continental US in getting these flowers. Many people view this type of purchase as a way to support the Hawaiian economy.
While all forms of financial support are appreciated, the combination of decreased supply and increased demand has caused prices to rise. What’s interesting is this increase hasn’t only affected flowers sent to the mainland.
Throughout the island, flowers sought for local events like graduations and other ceremonies have gone up somewhat. And in some instances, locals and shippers to the mainland have extended their search for specific flowers outside the island of Hawaii.
The increase in both demand and prices for island flowers stands in contrast to many other businesses on the island. Most businesses associated with tourism have seen a quick decrease.
Just how hard have businesses like tour operators and hotels been hit? Most estimates show that the summer’s eruption cut typical tourism numbers in half. This tourism slump was made even worse by concerns about Hurricane Hector.
3. Farms are Getting Help from the Community
Despite mandatory evacuations, some of the most talked about videos and photos from the eruption are from Hawaiians who were incredibly close to the lava.
Given this commitment to the local area, the third impact likely comes as surprise to outsiders despite being expected by those who call the island home.
This impact is the support of the community towards farms that were ravaged by the eruption. Even though countless people lost their homes throughout this ordeal, they’ve been more than willing to lend a helping hand.
One example of this is a local organization bringing together dozens of farmers for an emergency resource meeting. By including other members of the community, the meeting was able to focus on how to move forward in the face of adversity.
This type of community support has been especially critical in rural areas. Working together to manage supplies and other vital resources has helped lift everyone. This is a trend that should continue as owners and employees work to rebuild.
A Hawaii Flower Company That Ships to the Continental US
Although the effects of this eruption on flower farms and the entire region were devastating, Hawaiians are not known for giving up. In the face of this disaster, the entire community has shown its strength and resilience.
With Our Aloha is a company that perfectly embodies the Hawaiian spirit. Even though the eruption created all kinds of challenges for the flower farming community as a whole, our company has worked nonstop to overcome them. This includes looking for the best available flowers and sourcing from other islands.
Because we’ve been in business since 2000, we know exactly what needs to be done in these types of situations. We are fully committed to providing every customer with a delightful experience, and that’s exactly what we continue to do.
Whether you’re ordering flowers for a holiday or fresh leis for a special event, you can count on us to get them to you. The same is true for the different monthly subscriptions we offer.
Not only can you count on With Our Aloha to deliver the best island flowers in a timely manner, but you can also depend on us to continue providing very attractive pricing.
We’re proud of our nearly two decades in business and look forward to many more as a Hawaii flower leader. If you need any assistance with your order, you can easily contact us online or by calling (808) 934-7295.
Hawaiian Hospitality Welcomes Like No Other
Many locals probably know Ho’okipa as a park in Maui – a place to surf or relax on the beach. But ho’okipa is much more than a beach or a park. The English translation is “hospitality,” but that is a word. Ho’okipa is a feeling, a sense of Hawaiian hospitality and even a way of life.
The tradition of welcoming guests and travelers with food and water is a literal description of ho’okipa. It is much like describing a marriage as a ceremony, in that the definition does not capture the true experience. The goal of ho’okipa is for the guest to know that they are important, that they matter, and that they are a welcome addition to the host’s lives, not a burden or a task.
An important aspect of ho’okipa lies in the choices made for how to welcome a guest. The tradition of greeting guests with a lei is long held. Remember that it is impolite to refuse a lei. Allow your host to place the lei around your neck and up on your shoulders.
Hosts also take great care in selecting the right foods to demonstrate their open and welcoming arms. Guests may not remember every detail of the meal, but, years later, they will remember the feeling of belonging. For ho’okipa, it truly is the thought that matters most.
When you select a gift, the goal is to please the recipient, to let them know that they are important, that they matter, and that they are a welcome addition in your life. Taking great care in selecting that gift can convey all that and more. Selecting something special, something outside of the everyday, is a great way to convey those thoughts. A unique gift of tropical flowers, or a gift basket of Hawaiian delicacies, or the world’s best coffee shows that your intent was much more than to send a gift. Your intention was for them to remember how important and welcome they are.
When you are ready to send not just a gift, but a feeling true Hawaiian hospitality, of ho’okipa, contact us.
The Delicious Dialect of Kona Coffee
“Coffee is a language in itself,” once said Jackie Chan.
How true is this statement; those of us who drink coffee daily know that coffee speaks. It gives a bit of refinement to any situation. It begs for good conversation at a large table with friends. Coffee desires a small table with the daily newspaper, or a sunrise drive to work. Yet coffee is not just coffee. The language of coffee has copious dialects. Many of which are comparatively unrecognizable.
Hawaiian kona coffee is widely regarded as some of the best coffee in the world. Kona Coffee Roasting gives a beautiful account of reasons for this. It describes that Hawaii simply seems to be the perfect habitat in which to grow tasty coffee. Weather in west Hawaii begins with a sunny start to the day which often fades into clouds. There is frequent precipitation and always warm temperatures. The volcanic soil adds to the unique flavor.
Kona Coffee Roasting goes on to describe the sensuality of Hawaiian coffee. “Hawaiian Kona coffee is often described as smooth, delicate, and full-bodied. Kona coffee is also described as robust, and usually with medium acidity. Some also say it has a caramelly aroma and a slightly nutty flavor.”
The specific taste of any coffee largely depends on how the coffee beans are roasted. So even among the varieties of Kona coffee, we suggest sampling a wide variety to discover exactly which one speaks to your palette.
Our Kona coffee is always 100% Kona unless labeled a blend. Some so-called “Kona blends” which often include as little as 10% Hawaiian grown coffee. Contact us. Browse our website. Look through our gift baskets. Indulge in the dialect of Kona along with some Hawaiian dessert snacks. These baskets make the perfect gift; the gift of bold aroma, the gift of luxury in taste.
Everybody loves giving and receiving a well-thought-out gift basket. Although any occasion is the right time to give a beautiful Hawaiian gift basket from With Our Aloha, if you need inspiration as to when to give a gift basket, here are a few ideas:
Why not present the friend or family member celebrating a new job, or job promotion with our 100% Kona Coffee Lover’s Hawaiian Gift Bag? They’ll start their new job off right with ground Kona coffee, macadamia nut biscotti, handmade Kona coffee cookies, and a beautiful Hawaiian print coffee mug to hold their coffee while they learn their way around that new job.
Help the mom-to-be get a jump-start on managing the stress that comes with adjusting to becoming a new mom with our Stress Release Formula Hawaiian Gift Basket. The soon-to-be new mom will love the feeling of being pampered while she soaks in scented bath water, smooths on deep moisturizing lotion, and enjoys the stress relieving fragrance or our aromatherapy soaps. We use wild flower essences of lehua, yellow ginger and kinehe to soothe the nerves and relax the body.
Nothing says “I love you” like surrounding your lady with beautiful and relaxing scents to refill her soul. Our basket, Soul of a Woman does just that. Bath crystals, lotions, body mist and soaps are scented with mango, white ginger, banana and lehua harvested right here in Hawaii to soothe and rejuvenate the soul.
Everybody loves chocolate, and our Chocolate Lovers Hawaiian Gift Bag is heaven in a bag. You’ll find chocolate covered macadamia nuts, chocolate chip cookies, chocolate covered Tiki Toffee, and more to pamper your favorite chocolate lover.
In a professional setting a simple gift can go a long way in strengthening business relationships. Saying ‘Thank You’ to an important client, employee or mentor makes a big impression.
If you are in charge of finding a large number of gifts for a company event, sales rewards or customer gathering consider a Hawaiian theme. We will help you design a gift bag or basket to meet your budget.
Contact us to learn about our other gift basket options.
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When most people hear the words “Destination Wedding in Hawaii,” the natural reaction is excitement. Who doesn’t want to go to Hawaii? For the couple getting married, stress follows excitement when they realize how much they need to accomplish from a distance.
Luckily, Hawaii hosts a lot of destination weddings, which means there are resources available to manage everything you need from wherever you call home. Many companies will plan and do everything for you, for the right price. While that may sound tempting and perhaps even ideal, remember that such a plan means that someone else is making a lot of the decisions about your wedding. While they may allow you to choose from various options, keep in mind that they have chosen the options from which you get to choose.
There are also companies that will provide just the level of support you desire. This type of company allows you to retain control over those elements that are most important to you, while allowing them to take care of things such as your Right-of-Entry Permit that will make it legal for you to get married on a beach. While each person will have different things that matter most to them, most people tend to care about location, their flowers, and the gifts they provide to members of the wedding and their guests. When it comes to those items, most people want more than a couple of choices. They also want everything to feel distinctly Hawaiian.
That’s where we come in. When you’re ready to choose your beautiful and distinctive leis and corsages, our selection will allow you to express yourself in the most Hawaiian of ways. What’s more, you can continue to express yourself, and provide a lasting memory, by selecting gifts for your wedding party that will remind them of your wedding in paradise for years to come.
If you’re ready to add the right touches to your Hawaiian wedding, contact us.
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When you think of Hawaii, what comes to mind? Pristine aquamarine water and white sand beaches, or slack key guitar and warm sunsets? Or is it more than the visible beauty that makes this place so memorable? The taste of our unique cuisine popping on your tongue, or breathing in the sweet aroma of tropical flowers? We hope this Hawaiian gift giving guide will help.
Hawaii is a truly unique place on earth, and here on the Islands we do things differently. For anyone who has visited or lives here, we all know what it means to live Aloha. We take our shoes off before we enter a house; we let people merge during the commute (and send a thanks with a shaka); we hold the door open for aunty at the bank; we always bring pupus to a gathering, potluck is implied; and we always greet with a hug and kiss on the cheek.
The holidays are event a little different in Hawaii: we adorn palm trees with Christmas lights; Santa Claus is often seen surfing; the start of the holidays are marked with Honolulu City Lights Parade where Shaka Santa and Tutu are proudly unveiled each year at Honolulu Hale.
In Hawaii, living Aloha is intrinsic, second nature and for many is the first thing that comes to mind when we think of Hawaii. During the holidays we can all take notes from the special way of life on the Islands, and give with Aloha.
When it comes to gift giving we all want to put a smile on the receiver’s face and leave a lasting impression. If you’re struggling with how to make that impression, keep Aloha in mind.
Make it personal
What about this person would show you care and really know them? Do they have a favorite sports team? A favorite color? Do they collect something? Do they work in a unique industry? A peacock shaped stocking to someone who loves peacocks; fancy note pads and gel pens for someone in the design industry; a candy lei filled with their favorite treats; make a meme dedicated to your friend and share it with them on social media; or a mug from their favorite football team would be thoughtful gifts.
Bring back memories
Despite the cheesiness, people love personalized photo gifts—a calendar or digital photo frame with photos from that road trip you took together; a photo book of all the Facebook posts you tagged each other in. Bringing back memories doesn’t always have to come in photo form. Make an ornament with shells from that beach you used to go to as kids; take apart that Halloween costume you two wore 10 years ago and make a scarf out of it; upload 25 days of your favorite memories with your pal for a cool Instagram advent calendar; make a Spotify playlist with songs that mean something to you and the recipient; or tie a quilt together using strips of cloth from old dresses and aloha shirts.
Something you could do together
Maybe there’s something you’ve been telling this person you should do together but haven’t yet—two tickets to the back alley play; a one month subscription to Areal Yoga; paddleboard rentals on North Shore; a camping permit for next summer on the Na Pali coast. Just remember that you have to do this gift with the person so don’t pick anything you won’t enjoy as well. And there’s always the guaranteed hit, a movie marathon, where you bring the awesome snacks.
Make it funny
Gag gifts can often be distasteful, and are only really appropriate for people with a certain sense of humor. But you can still make someone laugh without being crude. Maybe it’s a framed picture of their first Tweet, after you’ve been begging them to get on Twitter for years and they swore they would never tweet, ever; a guitar pick punch mold because they can never seem to find one when they want to play; or an oversized wine glass for a wine lover.
What makes where you live unique? Turning to your nearest local small business is often the best solution to finding a regional local gift. Find a local potter with up a pair of mugs; a local photographer with a framed photo of your region; a local author personalizing her latest release; or a farmer’s market vendor with their latest jam or jelly.
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Whatever you give this season, the best advice for holiday giving is keep Aloha in mind. A gift from the Islands is a special way to remind your loved ones of where you live, where they used to live, remind them of their favorite vacation spot, or celebrate their enthusiasm about their upcoming vacation to Hawaii. If you are looking for a unique local gift grown in Hawaii and made in Hawaii we have a few suggestions below.