Aloha is a Hawaiian term that has several meanings. The word means love, affection, peace, compassion, and mercy. It is widely used as a greeting, but it has a deeper cultural and spiritual meaning for native Hawaiians. They use it to describe a force that keeps life together. But do you know what the Aloha Spirit is?
The state of Hawai’i in the United States has enacted an “Aloha Spirit” statute that mandates government personnel to act with kindness, patience, agreeability, and humility.
What is the Aloha Spirit?
Aloha means the presence of breath or the breath of life, and it is derived from the Hawaiian words Alo, which means front and face. The term ha, on the other hand, means breath. Aloha is a style of life that emphasizes loving and respecting one another. Its more profound significance begins with training ourselves to love ourselves first and then spreading that love to others.
According to the old kahunas or local Hawaiian priests, being able to live the Spirit of Aloha was a manner of achieving self-perfection and realization of our own body and soul. Aloha is a positive energy that is sent and received. Living in harmony is what aloha means. When you live the Spirit of Aloha, you create lasting, pleasant sensations and thoughts. They exist in the physical world, multiply, and spread to others.
Many organizations and enterprises in Hawaii today bear the name Aloha, inspired by the idea and wisdom of the Spirit of Aloha: Aloha Tower, Aloha Stadium, and Aloha Airlines. Many Hawaiian singers also write and perform aloha-themed songs.
(Source: Hawaii Center for Labor Education and Research)
The Colorful Aloha Shirt
The striking and colorful Hawaiian shirt known as the aloha shirt is named after the Spirit of Aloha. It’s covered in a plethora of motifs and patterns, and it’s tinted in vibrant hues.
Hawaii produces two sorts of shirts: aloha shirts for locals and tourists and shirts for export to the mainland and other parts of the world. The difference between the two shirts is that the ones made for locals are more colorful and feature floral or generic Polynesian motifs.
In contrast, the ones made for tourists and export are much brighter and feature motifs such as a sunny day in Hawaii, shirts with palm trees, tropical cocktails, leis, beaches, blue ocean, flowers, etc. Another distinction between the two sorts of aloha shirts is that tourists wear them as casual and informal shirts, while natives use them as official clothing in businesses and government. (Source: Maui Magazine)
What is Aloha Friday?
Many organizations allow staff to dress down on Fridays for Aloha Friday. This is the time to dress in aloha wear. However, it wasn’t always like this. This tradition has a fascinating backstory intertwined with Hawaii’s garment industry.
Until the 1940s, travelers bought a lot of locally made designs. Large Hawaiian corporations required their employees to dress in formal attire, such as suits and ties for men and business dresses, skirts, and blouses for women. Aloha Week started in 1947 when it was believed that the economy of Hawaii would benefit if citizens wore more Hawaii-made clothing.
On Fridays, the City, and County of Honolulu authorized males to wear sports shirts to work. The fashion barrier had weakened much more during the 1960s. The Bank of Hawaii was the first company to allow aloha clothing on Fridays. It’s rare nowadays to come across a company that does not celebrate Aloha Friday. (Source: Maui Magazine)