If you’ve ever visited Hawaii, you’ve no doubt seen the famous hand gesture and heard the greeting “shaka, brah!” A shaka sign – the cool pinky and thumb salute – is the ultimate symbol of aloha and goes back to the roots of Hawaiian culture.
Commonly known to mean “hang loose” or “right on,” the shaka is a constant reminder that in Hawaii, it is not the norm to worry or rush. The shaka sign represents the embodiment of “island style.” Made famous as a surfer’s hand gesture, it signals that everything is alright.
The shaka sign was first popularized among locals in Hawaii through its use by surfers in the 1960s. Surfers from Hawaii started saluting fellow riders and friends with the shaka, and so when the surf culture grew and spread through California and America, it caught on and eventually expanded into Europe, Oceania, Asia, and Africa, and has remained a salutation of friendship from then on. Even presidents of the USA send shakas, and the global community gets it!
In Hawaii, the shaka is a simple yet powerful way to remind people to look out for each other on the islands and strive to spread aloha day in and day out. It embodies the Hawaiian principle of malama i kekahi i kekahi, – take care of one, take care of all. The sign is used wherever and whenever you want to spread a little aloha. Aloha in the Hawaiian language can mean love, hello, goodbye, affection, regards, fondness and compassion.
So, go ahead and give your shaka a shake. It consists of extending the thumb and smallest finger while holding the three middle fingers curled, and raising the hand in salutation while presenting the back; the hand may be rotated back and forth for emphasis.
Sending a shaka to all of you! Translate it as you feel: “Hi,” “See You,” “Thank You,” “All Right,” “Peace,” “Goodbye,” or “Chill Out.”