‘Hang loose’ Hawaii: US state adopts official hand gesture

May 2, 2024
| Reported by Charlotte McDonald-Gibson
To a hapless Brit, the clenched fist thumb-and-pinkie wave, may look more like a beckoning to “call me” than a universally recognised sign of goodwill.

But in Hawaii, the “Shaka” gesture, often interpreted by mainland North Americans to mean “hang loose”, is so ubiquitous that on Wednesday the state gave it the official thumbs-up.

The “Shaka” flashed by Americans from Elvis to Barack Obama has been adopted as the state’s official hand gesture, making it the first US state to have one.

While the precise meaning is hard to pin down residents agree that it reflects the relaxed pace of life on the islands, even when used with vigour on congested roads.

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