1. 11 out of 13 climate zones can be found on the Big Island of Hawaii, the highest number per geographical size found anywhere.
2. Ancient Hawaiians enjoyed surfing on water and land. One land track built into the mountainside rose and fell to mimic the motion of the waves.
3. Only two types of mammals are native to Hawaii: the hoary bat and the monk seal.a
4. The Hawaiian language uses only 12 letters and a symbol (‘).
5. Historically, Hawaiians gave leis to their local alii, or chief, as a sign of affection. Warring chiefs who wanted to make peace sat down to weave leis together.a
6. The hula was originally a form of worship performed by highly trained men.
7. Temples in Hawaii were raised rectangular platforms. They were perfectly aligned to the sun’s position on specific days of the year.
8. Ancient Hawaiians believed that the heavier a woman was, the more beautiful she was.
9. The Place of Refuge on the big island was a sanctuary where villagers could stay safe during wars, and where they could find forgiveness from their sins.
10. The islands were named Hawaii (homeland) by King Kamehameha in 1819.
11. In the 1960s, astronauts trained to walk on the moon by navigating Mauna Loa’s hardened lava fields.
12. Chiefs were thought to be related to the gods. The closer they were, the more mana they had. Because mana was inherited from both sides, knowing your birth parents was important to the royals. That is why a man could have many wives, but a woman (even if she had the most mana on the island) could only have one husband.
13. Most of Hawaii’s vibrant, colorful plants were imported from other places.
14. Pele was a rash god whose jealousy was said to have created two different island plants, the white-flowered Naupaka plant and the red-flowered, Lehua plant.
15. Kapu rules guided daily life. They said what to do and when to do it. For example, you couldn’t hunt out of season, or eat with a member of the opposite sex. The punishment for breaking one of those laws was often death.
16. The big island was divided into districts that resembled wagon spokes so that each section could access things from the sea and the mountains.
17. While most people play flutes with their mouths, ancient Hawaiians often played flutes (Ohe hano ihn)with the nose. Perhaps the preference for a nose flute stems from the Hawaiian belief that the nose was more innocent or pure than the mouth, which could say many things.a
18. Park rangers at Hawaii National Park receive packages every year from tourists who have taken volcanic rocks from Kilauea. The tourists claim that the rocks were bad luck from Pele, the goddess of fire, lightening, dance, volcanoes, and violence.a
19. Hawaii is the most isolated place on earth, located 2,390 miles away from the nearest continent.
20. Because their society was largely an oral rather than a written culture, ancient Hawaiians would learn values and history through trained storytellers. Because the stories were considered sacred, listeners were not allowed to move once a story began.a
a RandomHistory.com, 50 Random Facts about...Hawaii. Random History.com, http://facts.randomhistory.com/2009/04/03_hawaii.html April 3, 2009.