From Our Files

December archives


In 1888, King Kalakaua issued a royal charter, commissioning a magazine. Then titled Paradise of the Pacific, this publication became HONOLULU Magazine, making it the oldest magazine west of the Mississippi.




“When the hunter goes down to the sea for his game in Hawai‘i he must remember that it is unlawful according to Act 76 of the Session Laws of 1925, to kill or pursue any turtle or fish with any kind of firearm,” notes Paradise of the Pacific. Not so for sharks. Hunters were allowed to shoot them, and the act was popular off Honolulu harbor. A hunting party would use a small tugboat or powerboat, with which they would tow the carcass of a horse several miles offshore to attract sharks to “provide targets for the rifles of the sportsmen.” Today, activists are concerned with shark-cage tours, which could result in shark attacks.


Mele Kalikimaka! While there may be more palm trees than snow-topped pines, the holiday spirit thrives in the Islands. “Christmas is quite a community affair in Honolulu. Festival-loving Islanders gather in city parks and squares for pageants, sing, dancing, and throng to Polynesian dining spots for native feasts and hula,” observes Paradise of the Pacific. Many homes are aglow with Christmas lights, and poinsettias are in full bloom. “Oriental exuberance influences the city’s New Year’s Eve. Following the lead of the Chinese, thousands of Islanders explode firecrackers and set off Roman candles and rockets.”


“Cultures differ in their views of dance—the importance and purposes assigned to it—as much as in their dance styles. A study of the hula can lead to the very foundations of Hawaiian culture,” writes HONOLULU. The magazine explores the cultural significance of hula and the connections its performers offer. Hula is a dance with chant, making the body’s gestures meaningful rather than abstract. “Hawaiian thinkers connect parts of the human body to elements of the universe.” For example, some gestures connote trouble, pain, sacrifice or joy. Hula and chanting take on different meanings for those who perform it, as well as those who watch and listen to it.