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The shaka sign, commonly known as "hang loose", is a gesture often associated with Hawaii and surfer culture. 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.
The shaka sign was popularized among locals in Hawaii through its use by surfers and in surf culture throughout the state in the 1960s. It has remained a salutation of friendship used by the local culture at large from then on.
Meaning and use 
Hawaiian locals use the shaka to convey what they call the "Aloha Spirit", a gesture of friendship and understanding between the various ethnic cultures that reside within Hawaii, and thus it does not have a direct semantic to literal translation. Depending on context it can also be used to communicate notions such as "thank you", "hi", "howzit", and the like. The shaka is used on the road among drivers and in photographs to communicate a distant greeting.
Outside of Hawaii, the shaka may be used to mean "hang loose", "hello","goodbye", "till next time", "take care", or "all right!". In sign language, the shaka is one of the two signs used to refer to surfing. In California, the Shaka sign may be referred to as the "chill" or "hang ten" sign- both associated with surfer culture.
The gesture enjoys common use in American hang gliding culture, for both sentiment and word play, in part due to the simultaneous rise of surfing and hang gliding in California in the 1960s and 70s.
Similar gestures 
The sign can also be used to gesticulate the imbibing of a bottled drink, as attested to below, by placing the thumb to the mouth and motioning the little finger upward as if tipping up a bottle's bottom end.
With the thumb held near the ear and the little finger pointed at the mouth, the gesture is commonly understood to mean "call me", as it resembles a handheld telephone.
In the Caribbean, mostly in the Lesser Antilles Aruba, Bonaire & Curaçao, it may be used to suggest a sexual exchange; for such, the thumb points to the gesturer and the little finger toward the subject of the proposition as the hand is moved forward and back.
In China, this gesture also means "6".
In Russia, this gesture with vertically oriented thumb and horizontally oriented little finger as if holding a beer mug is understood as an invitation to have a drink.
In Australia and New Zealand, raising the thumb to the mouth while pointing the pinky to the air is seen as invitation for one to smoke cannabis, the posture resembling the use of a pipe.
The "shaka sign" may have its roots in the Hawaiian custom of holding a lei (a necklace made of flowers) for the purpose of placement over the head on the shoulders of another in an Aloha greeting. The three middle fingers grasp the lei from over the top while the thumb and small finger rest under the lei thus spreading the 'necklace' open.
Another theory maintains that when Spanish explorers initially came upon the islands and their people, unable to speak the native tongue, they motioned the gesture as if drinking from it, like a bottle of sorts, in an attempt to convey peaceful intentions; namely, sharing a drink. Perhaps misunderstanding the gesture, the natives took it to be a friendly greeting, and the behavior persisted.
Yet another theory, according to the Honolulu Star-Bulletin, prevailing local lore credited the gesture to Hamana Kalili of Laie, who lost the three middle fingers of his right hand while working at the Kahuku Sugar Mill. Kalili was then shifted to guarding the sugar train, and his all-clear wave of thumb and pinkie is said to have evolved over the years into the shaka as children would imitate his unique hand "waaaave."
- Chinese number gestures
- "Give Me a Sign: The Stories Behind 5 Hand Gestures". mental_floss. Retrieved 2013-03-11.
- Watanabe, June (31 March 2002). "Wherever it came from, shaka sign part of Hawaii". Honolulu Star-Bulletin. Retrieved 13 January 2011.
- "The Shaka". Polynesian Cultural Center. Retrieved 13 January 2011.