Why does Hawaii have so many rainbows? 

April 1, 2021 0

Hawaii is known as the ‘Rainbow’ state! If you visit here, you are guaranteed to see some spectacular rainbows and views. A normal day in Hawaii consists of a rainbow, especially during the rainy season! And the best part is… rainbows never get old! They always seem to mesmerize us no matter how many we have seen. So, why does Hawaii have so many rainbows?

How do rainbows form?


The recipe for a rainbow is quite simple. Basically, you need some sunshine and some rain. Each droplet in a rain shower acts as a mini prism. The droplet bends and bounces light. The light waves refract as it enters the droplet, reflect off the back of the droplet, and then refract once more as it leaves the droplet. Since each color wavelength has different energies, they refract at slightly different angles, allowing the colors to separate out into the spectrum we see in a rainbow. The more uniform the raindrops are in size, the more distinct are the colors of the rainbow.

Why does Hawaii have so many rainbows?


The combination of constant cloud coverage, trade winds, mountainous terrain, and clean air all contribute to rainbow sightings in the islands of Hawaii. The mountain tops force the trade winds coming from the ocean to rise and cool. This creates rain showers, and holes in the clouds where the sun can enter. Hawaii which is known for its very clean marine air, and clean atmosphere because we are far from pollution. The clean air makes for strong sunshine, and that strong sun helps produce a vibrant rainbow.

Hawaiian culture and rainbows


In Hawaii, rainbows are on the license plates of cars and Hawaii state drivers licenses and identifications. The ‘Rainbow Warriors’ are literally the mascot of the University of Hawaii!
In the Hawaiian language and culture, rainbows (anuenue)  symbolize a boundary. The veil between the realms of gods, and the realms of humans. Rainbows also signify the presence of supernatural, royalty and sacred entity.

What season is best in Hawaii for rainbows?


The winter time, or rainy season (November-April) is the best time to sight rainbows. You will see them almost everyday! The best time to spot them is early morning or evening when the sun is low and common rain showers occur.

At this point, sometimes when we look out the window we can even recognize the “rainbow weather”. This is where we feel and see the magic happening. It’s a kind of golden glow where the rain is drizzling lightly, or a dark grey cloud is in the distance and the sun is also shining very golden. Every time this happens, I go outside and immediately spot a breathtaking array of colors in the sky. It almost reminds me of the Northern Lights, Hawaiian style!

No matter what time of the year you choose to visit, your odds of seeing a rainbow are extremely high! Whether or not you actually do see a rainbow, there is still plenty of beauty surrounding the Hawaiian Islands to see and explore. From the mountains to the oceans, there are endless cracks and crevices to adventure and it never gets old! Who knows, you might even end up moving here too 🙂

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