11 Hawaiian Symbols And Their Meanings

Rainbows symbolize hope and new beginnings. It represents the idea that people will experience unpleasant events in their lives, but there will always be a rainbow that will come to put a smile on peoples’ faces, and that will be the time that they will feel at peace.

The Meaning Behind Hawaiian Symbols

Modern day Hawaii upholds many ancient traditions, passing meaning behind sacred symbols and meanings to each generation. Symbols often generated in nature, are still seen in the wild, as well as through jewelry pieces and tattoo art. It is said those who wear, or worship, the symbol generate that energy behind the symbol. Keep the Aloha spirit and tradition alive through the energy, meaning and spirit behind these ancient Hawaiian symbols. Makau – Fish Hook Pendant
Hawaiians have a deep connection and understanding of the ocean. The Makau is a fishhook pendant, which was used in ancient times to find food. During the early eras, locals would create fishhooks out of various materials – bones, wood, coral and stone. Today, the fish hook necklaces sold represent everything good: strength, prosperity and good luck. Pendants are often made in bone, wood or jade materials. Rainbow
The rainbow has various meanings in Hawaiian culture. They are the celestial path Hawaiian Gods use to visit the earth but they are also the pathway for deceased souls to transport to heaven. The rainbow primarily represents transformation. It is also known that those who can connect to the spirit and “upper” world will live abundant lives as humans. Hawaiian Flowers
The Hibiscus is a popular flower representing delicate beauty and sunshine. It is known that women who wear the flower behind the right ear are single and the left ear represents a woman who is romantically attached. The Bird of Paradise is another exotic flower seen throughout Hawaii. The Hawaiian name for the flower means, “Little Globe,” and represents joy and magnificence. Orchids are indigenous to Hawaiian landscapes and are symbolic toward refinement and beauty. Green Sea Turtle
Turtles are one of the oldest creatures on earth. The Hawaiian Green Sea Turtle, known as “Honu,” symbolizes good luck, endurance and long life. Turtles can show up as a person’s guardian spirit, known as “Aumakua.” When lost, turtles are excellent navigators and often find their way home. Legend states that a green sea turtle guided the first Polynesian settlers to the islands. In historic days, only the rich were allowed to consume turtles as food. In modern times, sea turtles are protected by the Endangered Species act and there are severe penalties just for giving them stinkeye. The Guardian Spirits
Guardian spirits come in natural or animal form. It is possible to have more than one “Aumakua,” or spirit guide, where a deceased ancestor took a life form to guide an individual. Many natives and locals tattoo one or all of the Guardian Spirits on the body. In Hawaiian tradition, the shark, gecko and owl are significant guardian spirits. A shark is known as a protector. The gecko is known as the animal that could communicate to the Gods and is a protector of homes. The owl or “Pueo,” is one of the oldest manifestations that flew over the Hawaiian lands before settlement. The owl was specifically skilled in battle and represents mysterious wisdom. Circles
Circles appear in artwork, petroglyphs and jewelry pieces. The Hawaiians believed a closed circle represented a seamless life, one that has no beginning or end. Therefore, it contains sacred knowledge that is interconnected to the stars and planets in the circle of life. When used with the Koru, a fern representing new life and purity, in artwork it represents a new life, love or beginning in the circle of life.

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11 Hawaiian Symbols And Their Meanings

Orchids Hawaiian symbol of Love

Are you looking for Hawaiian symbols and their meanings?

Hawaii is a small state in the Western part of the United States that has a very rich culture. The beauty and simplicity of the island make the tourists call it the “Paradise of the Pacific”. Hawaii’s nickname is “Aloha State” wherein ‘aloha’ means hello and goodbye. The island’s nickname itself conveys how welcoming the island is.

Their vibrant culture is displayed on a variety of platforms. Some of the ways that the Hawaiians do to share their culture are through tribal tattoos and pendants of jewelry.

Their tribal tattoos are designed based on the symbols that give meaning to their lives. Some Hawaiian symbols signify as a symbol for peace, strength and love.

11 Hawaiian Symbols And Their Meanings

Hawaiian Symbols And Their Meanings

Hawaiian Symbols for Peace

There are so many peace symbols used in various cultures. These are the symbols that promote tranquility, calmness, and peace of mind.

Hawaii also has a variety of peace symbols like the sea turtle, leis, and rainbow. Some of their symbols are associated with the image of water. It may be reasonable since they are surrounded by bodies of water.

Sea turtles


Like in many other cultures, the Hawaiians believe that sea turtles also known as ‘Honu’ symbolize peace, endurance, and a long and healthy life. But it is also believed to guide people in the afterlife. It symbolizes knowledge and emotional strength, among other things. The symbol of a sea turtle is represented in the form of a linear design.

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Lei Hawaiian Symbol of Peace

When visiting Hawaii, most of the people wear leis. A lei is a garland made up of flowers that are put on people’s head that serves as a crown or a necklace especially when welcoming people to the island.

Lei is commonly a symbol of love and friendship. But Hawaiians use it as a symbol of peace offering to show honor and respect to their opponents.


Rainbow hawaiian symbol of peace

Science claims that Hawaii is one of the best places to see rainbows. Hawaii has many attributes that make it have the best rainbows. Some of those are the combination of the winds, clouds, and mountainous areas.

Rainbows symbolize hope and new beginnings. It represents the idea that people will experience unpleasant events in their lives, but there will always be a rainbow that will come to put a smile on peoples’ faces, and that will be the time that they will feel at peace.

Hawaiian Symbols for Love

Symbols of love elicit a distinct kind of emotion than other symbols. It makes people feel good about themselves and respected. Hawaiians have their own set of symbols for love, which they express through tattoos on their bodies.

Most of their symbols, such as the hibiscus and the orchid, are based on different flowers, each representing a particular meaning. The circles are also included in the list of love symbols.


Hibiscus Hawaiian symbol of Love

The Hibiscus flower is one of the romantic emblems of love and beauty. It also symbolizes friendship, joy, and hospitality, each of which represents a distinct type of love.

Some believe that the placement of flowers in a woman’s ear has symbolic significance. Women who wear it on their right ear are considered to be single, while women who wear it on their left ear are considered to be in a relationship.


Orchids Hawaiian symbol of Love

Traditionally, orchids symbolize love, beauty, and refinement. Hawaiian orchids have different symbols based on their color. Red indicates romantic love, and pink also symbolizes romantic love and friendship. Other colors like purple, yellow, and orange also have underlying meanings like respect, innocence pride and so on.


Circles Hawaian Symbol of Love

The Hawaiians believe that a circle represents a life that has no beginning or end. In terms of the concept of love, it symbolizes an eternal love.

They think that circles have an interconnectedness with the stars and planets, which is why it initially represents the circle of life. Circles could mean new hope and new beginnings.

Hawaiian Symbols for Strength

The ocean is an important part of Hawaiian culture, and the people there have a strong connection to it. Which is why most of their symbols for strength involve sea creatures or anything connected to it. Makau, shark teeth, stingrays, and gecko are just a few of the Hawaiian emblems of strength that can be found.


Makau Hawaiian Symbol of Strenght

Makau is a fishhook that people use to find food. Makau is a significant symbol for Hawaiian culture as it is believed to protect people for safe travel through water.

It is also used as a pendant which is believed to bring good fortune and strength to whoever wears it. Makau pendants are often crafted using bone or wood material to bring distinctive appeal to traditional and contemporary designs.

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Shark Teeth

Generally speaking, sharks are regarded as fearless hunters and powerful creatures who predominate in the seas’ depths.

As told in Hawaiian myths and legends about a young boy who successfully prevailed after fighting a sea deity while wearing a shark tooth pendant, led people to believe that wearing a shark tooth pendant may protect them against a shark attack.

This made people believe that a shark tooth necklace would provide them with protection, direction, and power. A shark teeth symbol can be represented as a solid-colored triangle or an empty triangle.


Stringray Hawaiian symbol of strenght

The stingray is a sea creature that looks like a kite with a tail. It is regarded as a symbol of strength and wisdom in Hawaiian culture. Hawaiians also think that the stingray serves as a spirit guardian and represents speed, agility, and grace, which is why getting a stingray tattoo helps protect one’s spirit and conjure those abilities.


Gecko Hawaiian symbol of strenght

Geckos are predatory lizards that are predominantly found on Pacific islands, particularly Hawaii. Among Hawaiians, the gecko is a popular tattoo design since the reptile is thought to possess supernatural powers.

They believe that geckos are dreaded because they considered it to bring bad luck, illness, and misfortune to everyone who comes into contact with them. As a result, it has become a well-known tattoo design due to the protection and strength it provides to an individual.

Hawaiian symbols are frequently seen in jewelry and tattoo designs. However, the placement of tattoos on the body has distinct symbolism, and the significance of tribal tattoos varies depending on where they are placed.

When it comes to tattoo placement on the human body, it is believed that the left side are for women and the men place tattoos on the right side of their body.

The tattoo placement for men includes arms, legs, face, and torso. On the other hand, women tend to have their tattoos placed primarily on their wrists, hands, and tongue.

Tattoos placed on the head indicate wisdom, understanding, and intuition. At the same time, tattoos on the upper body like the chest and stomach would represent honor and sincerity.

For tattoos placed on the arms and shoulders, it indicates strength and bravery; hence the Hawaiian symbols for strength stated above are most probably placed on the arms and shoulders.

When tattoos are placed on the thighs and lower tummy, they represent independence, courage, and procreation. When the tattoo is placed on either the hands or forearms, it is believed that being creative and able to make things feasible will be attained. After all, the hands are a vital component of the body that allows people to carry out their daily activities.

All of the symbols and their placements demonstrate how Hawaiians place a high emphasis on the significance of each symbol’s meaning.

They give importance on their culture that they express it through the creative designs they use on their symbols. A Hawaiian with various tattoos on their body shows their personality and set of beliefs.

When planning to visit Hawaii and want to have a tattoo, consider the meanings and placements stated above.