Updated: September 1, 2023
Even if you’ve never traveled to the paradise of Hawaii, you likely know the tropical greeting, “Aloha.” However, do you know the Hawaiian farewell saying, “a hui hou,” and what it means? This beautiful phrase has a more profound translation than merely “goodbye.”
Many words and phrases in Native Hawaiian reflect Hawaii’s ties to its indigenous island culture and other Polynesian cultures across the Pacific Ocean. By learning the proper translation, you can gain a deeper appreciation for the beauty of the meaning behind many of these sayings.
A Hui Hou
How to Pronounce A Hui Hou
When traveling to the paradise of Hawaii, be sure to learn proper pronunciation for Native Hawaiian words. For example, you pronounce a hui hou as “ah-hoo-wee ho.”
Translating This Hawaiian Farewell
English speakers commonly say “goodbye” when parting with friends or loved ones. However, in Hawaii, some view “goodbye” with superstition. A simple “bye” implies you might part ways forever.
You can break down a hui hou translation into its parts to better understand it.
- The word a translates to “until” in English
- The word hui translates to “meet,” “join,” or “unite” in English
- The word hou translates to “again” in English
When used together as a sentence, a hui hou translates to “until we meet again.”
The Cultural Meaning Behind A Hui Hou
As with many cultures around the world, Native Hawaiians use their language to measure respect. In Hawaii, saying “goodbye” may seem to be bad manners. This English farewell implies you won’t see each other again.
On the other hand, a hui hou lets your friend or one you love know you will look forward to seeing them again. Consider how sad parting ways with friends or loved ones can feel. Implying the hope that you’ll see each other again adds positivity to the departure.
A Hui Hou and Body Language
Different cultures have different physical interactions when parting ways. For example, in the paradise of Hawaii, when greeting a friend or leaving a gathering, you can expect a kiss on the cheek. Even for first introductions, someone may view you as impolite if you don’t exchange a kiss.
A Hui Hou and Hawaiian Funeral Traditions
Funerals in Native Hawaiian culture celebrate the life of the deceased. Family and loved ones commonly tell humorous, endearing stories and share fond memories for the mourners to laugh at and enjoy. The concept of a hui hou plays an essential role as part of this celebration.
Because a hui hou means “until we meet again,” Native Hawaiians say this at funerals to maintain a feeling of hope. Even after death, it’s a sign of respect to family and loved ones.
The Meaning of A Hui Hou Kākou
When addressing a large group of people, you can use the sentence “a hui hou kākou.” This phrase translates to “until we meet again, everyone” or “until we all meet again.” As the translation implies, you would use this phrase as the plural form of a hui hou.
Basics of Language in Hawaii
Along with a hui hou, you’ll want to learn more Hawaiian phrases for your visit. A basic understanding of the Hawaiian alphabet and everyday Hawaiian slang can help you interact on a more meaningful level.
Hawai’i Creole and Pidgin Hawaiian
Linguistically, pidgin languages are contact languages that develop in cultural contact situations when speakers of two or more languages need to learn to communicate quickly, often in a work environment.
On the Hawaiian islands, two types of pidgin languages developed, one based more in the native Hawaiian language (Pidgin Hawaiian or Hawaii Plantation Pidgin) and one based more in English (Hawaiian Pidgin, also called Hawai’i Creole English).
Historically, these pidgin languages developed on the 19th-century sugar cane plantations and helped the Native Hawaiians, foreign immigrants (such as Portugese, Chinese, Japanese), and English-speaking colonizers to communicate. Some communities, especially on the Big Island, still speak the Plantation Pidgin.
However, Hawai’i Creole English (aka Pidgin) is widely spoken by hundreds of thousands of people and has become part of the everyday vernacular. When you visit Hawaii, you may hear locals speaking it in less formal situations. You may also use these phrases in the appropriate context.
Other Common Hawaiian Words and Phrases
You’ll want to learn a few more common phrases for your visit, other than a hui hou. We’ve collected a few popular words and their translations here, to get you started.
They are not difficult, and you should get appreciative comments for your attempt to use the local language each day.
- The word Mahalo means “Thank you”
- The phrase A’ ole pilikia means “No problem”
- The phrase ‘Ono grinds means “Delicious food”
- The word Howzit is the way to ask “How are you?”
- The word Aloha means “Hello”
- The phrase Mālama pono means “To take care” in English
- The word ‘Ohana means “family” in English
The Hawaiian Language and Island Exploration
Learning more Hawaiian words expands your learning possibilities when you explore the islands. Many of Hawaii’s geological features have unique local names that can help you understand more about Native Hawaii’s history.
Diamond Head Crater
Many visitors like to explore Diamond Head Crater, a beautiful geological feature in the Ko’olau volcanic range. However, Hawaiians have a different name for this crater: Lēʻahi, which translates to “brow of the tuna.” The crater’s ridgeline forms the shape of a fish’s dorsal fin.
The Waikiki Area
Whether you choose to stay in Waikiki or visit for one day, the placename holds cultural significance. Waikīkī means “spouting fresh water.”
Historically, Waikiki consisted of marshland. Mountain rain drained through the town into the ocean, giving the place its name.
Hawaii’s Dialect in Terms of Food
You can use Hawaiian terms to express gratitude during your visit. Perhaps you order cookies from a bakery, lunch at a restaurant, or meet a local person who offers to serve you dinner. Whatever the case, you should always give thanks.
You can say mahalo to show your appreciation. After all, if you served food, wouldn’t you like to hear a “thank you”? If you’re at a local restaurant, you can say the food was ‘ono (delicious).
Mahalo Nui Loa
Our lesson on the meaning of a hui hou ends with mahalo nui loa, which means “thank you very much.” We hope you’ve learned a lot about Hawaiian history and can better appreciate the beauty of this island paradise.
The state of Hawaii provides a beautiful setting to rest, play, eat, and improve your outlook on the world.
We encourage you to continue educating yourself and learn more Hawaiian words and phrases, and we hope to see you on your next trip!