Spread the Aloha With a Shaka

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When visiting Hawaii, you are sure to notice a common gesture used by locals as a greeting, a goodbye, a celebration, and more. Called a "shaka," it can be executed by extending your thumb and pinky fingers while keeping your three middle fingers down and raising your hand with the back of it facing away from you.

A shaka can mean everything from "cool" to "all right," "hello" and "take care; it is a means of spreading aloha to others. Stories of the origination of the shaka vary. Some say it became popular in the 1960s and grew out of the way one's hand held a lei when giving it to someone. Others say it was popularized in the 1940s by a man named Hamana Kalili who used it as a symbol of blessing after losing his three middle fingers in an accident.

Still others believe the word "shaka" came from "shark eye," a term that wax considered a compliment. But whatever its true roots may be, there is no denying that the shaka is an important part of local culture. And while it may have many different forms and modification, everyone uses it in Hawaii -- from businessmen to surfers, politicians, and school kids. You better start practicing your shaka before you arrive!

And don't forget to check out our big shaka on the Howzit Beach Towel, available on our Online Shop!

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