“Hawaii is like an isolated jewel set in the vastness of the Pacific Ocean. And like facets of a gem, the islands have their own unique qualities. Travelers who take the time to look beyond their obvious beauty will discover a chain of islands that is at once lush and stark, modern and ancient, simple and exotic.”
-RITA ARIYOSHI, Hawaii
Aloha. One simple word that can open the door of miracles. It is a greeting in Hawaiian culture but this means LOVE and no other culture starts its daily life with such a deep level of emotions, compassion and positive vibes. You would think it is Heaven itself and all you want is to get there and chill forever, surrounded by happy people with flowers, rhythm of those Hawaiian guitars and enjoying your special blend of Mai Tai.
I was born with touch of Aloha, on my skin. Kissed by sunset of Pacific Ocean, I have always dreamt to buy a little house on some of the six amazing Hawaiian Islands and to pretend I work on my writing goals. Actually, I would take all energy from Hawaii and put into my spirit, letting myself to melt into the magical world we thought that does not exist anymore.
What do we need to know before we pack our luggage and fly on Hawaiian Islands? I am not a typical travel blogger to give you all necessary tips for easy journey but rather a challenger of your dreams, to make you be free and dare to embrace what belongs to you. I agree that is not easy to chase your dreams but it is possible and you should do it because you can and because you will make it. If Hawaiian Island is the place, where you desire to go and to be, make sure you follow my thoughts and the line of this article until the end. You will be motivated and may happen that you will be soon awaken in the tropical universe of KU and HINA.
According to historical data, Ku and Hina are man and woman, the great ancestral gods for the ancient Hawaiians.” Ancient Hawaiians lived by the animistic philosophy that assigned living souls to animals, trees, stones, stars, and clouds, as well as to humans. Religion and mythology were interwoven in Hawaiian culture; and local legends and genealogies were preserved in song, chant, and narrative.” Nowadays, Hawaiian culture is modernized but still influenced with old beliefs and mysticism. That is exactly the attraction of this Island. You find modern and ancient, dancing the same dance on the beautiful white sand.
There are six diamonds of Hawaiian Islands and each of them is specific for its authentic natural beauty and hidden sightseeing opportunities. Depending on your expectations, you can choose among Kauai, Oahu, Molokai, Lanai, Maui and island of Hawaii. The best option is to take time, visit them all and then decide where you would like your final temple to be.
Kauai is often called the “Garden Island” due to the numerous breathtaking valleys, wild mountain peaks and thrilling cliffs. Somewhere inside of all, the rain forest is located, surrounded with dangerous waterfalls and forking rivers. It is interesting to note that some parts of this Island can be soon only via sea or air route but there are many dramatic outdoor offers, to fully experience the mesmerizing charm of Kauai. From kayaking through the Wailua Rover and hiking the Kokee State Park to the zip lining above Kauai’s lush valleys or simply discovering the local heritage.
What do we know about Oahu? It is the third largest Hawaiian Island or “Gathering Place” because the majority of Hawaiians live exactly here, merged in their successful multicultural pattern. Beside it, the authentic culture has been integrated in urban moments and if you like boosting holiday life and active city pulse, you wont be wrong.
Then, there is fascinating Molokai that is only 38 miles long, with the highest sea cliffs in the world and the most indigenous Hawaiian people you will ever meet. I think I could stay on Molokai, flattering with white sand, rich ocean wales and learning about Hawaiian rural lifestyle.
Aloha from Lanai, the island of contrasts between high level of luxurious resort and off road chances for small backpacking holiday.
“The Valley Isle” is actually our Maui. I think this is the world famous Island due to the alluring beaches, humpback whales, sunrise and sunset from Haleakala and Hawaiian dance. If we add to it the delicious Hawaiian cuisine, I guess you are already on the road.
The youngest but the largest part of Hawaii Heaven is the Island of Hawaii with different climate zones, massive volcanoes Maunakea and Maunaloa , black sand of Punaluu Beach and being overwhelmed with warm hospitality of the locals.
The next thing I like very much about this Island is its language. As someone who is very interested in learning foreign languages, I find Aloha very inviting. Do not forget that Hawaiian language has only five vowels, eight consonants, and the shortest alphabet in the world. In spite of this, the melody of this language is unforgettable. Starting to understand the meaning of Aloha, that is not just a causal greeting but rather sublimation of highest understanding of emotions, compassion, care, friendship and love. The word Akahai defines personality as modest and gentle while word Lokahi emanates harmony and peace. It seems that many Hawaiian words are expressing the life gratitude, joy of the spirit and welcoming, good hearts of people.
Without hula and music, your Hawaiian experience will not be fulfilled. What is hula? That is some kind of local ritual that consists of swaying hips, praying hands and explosion of colors in costumes. Hula has been created as religious practice but has been adapted to the modern dance and fun. We can still note the slight differences between traditional hula or hula kahiko and advanced and new age hula, hula auana. Sitting on the pearl beaches of Hawaiian Islands, dressed in colorful clothes, decorated with flowers and dancing slowly, followed by ukuleles and piano guitars, you can learn the philosophy of sunny Hawaiian culture.
As a world explorer and nature lover, I was impressed hearing about Pele`s Curse. The landscape of Hawaiian Island is so wonderful that there is no person that would not like to pick up some little stone or tiny lava rock to take home as a souvenir. I can relate to it but there are some urban legends of it, known as Pele´s Curse. It is like an omen for people who took something from land away, especially lava rocks. They have been followed with bad luck and many of them send the stones back to Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, with no return address. I spoke about Pele´s Curse with one friend of mine, who is Hawaiian himself:”When you want to take something from the land pick it up, hold it, and ask the land for permission to take it. If the land tells you it is okay then you are okay. However, the land may also tell you NO. You will feel the message from the land when you ask.” Now, we can witness to the spirituality of Hawaiian people. They are deeply connected with Mother Earth and they can hear its voice, in golden silence around. I do not know if I can believe in this urban myth about angry goddess Pele that is punishing stealers of lava rocks. Based on the available official information, there is no any curse and people should stop bothering Institute with packages of return stolen items but learn not to take what is not theirs.
The culture and religion of Hawaii is mystical, deep and rich and if you want to feel it and to grab all those good Aloha vibes, you need to learn to live like locals, following their rules and style of life. When you are in Hawaii, be a Hawaiian, adopt Lokahi, share Aloha and keep respect for Pele and her gorgeous land. In the meantime, you will find yourself chilled and ready to try new recipes from Hawaiian cuisine, giving a chance to Luau Stew or Poke and catching the dessert of the Coconut or Strawberry Mochi with Lawa Flow cocktail.
I am the child of Hawaii and will not ever give up on seeking for my way to home.
Aloha again. Be happy. Noho me ka hau’oli.
One thought on “KU AND HINA: IN PARADISE OF HAWAIIAN ISLANDS”
Sarah’s beautiful and inspiring article reminded me of recent research from The University of Hawaii’s School of Ocean, Earth Science & Technology (SOEST) which revealed the largest and hottest shield volcano on Earth. A team of volcanologists and ocean explorers used several lines of evidence to determine Pūhāhonu; a volcano within The Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument holds this distinction.
Geoscientists and the public have long thought Mauna Loa, a culturally-significant and active shield volcano on the Big Island of Hawaii, was the largest volcano in the world. Yet, after surveying the ocean floor along the mostly submarine Hawaiian leeward volcano chain, chemically analysing rocks in the UH Mānoa rock collection, and modelling the results of these studies, the research team came to a new conclusion.
Pūhāhonu means ‘turtle rising for breath’ in Hawaiian. It is nearly twice as big as Mauna Loa.
Dr Michael Garcia (lead author of the study and retired professor of Earth Sciences at SOEST) stated that ‘It has been proposed that hot-spots that produce volcano chains like Hawaii undergo progressive cooling over 1-2 million years and then cease to be active.
However, we have learned from this study that hot-spots can undergo pulses of melt production. A small pulse created the Midway cluster of now extinct volcanoes and another, much bigger one created Pūhāhonu. This will rewrite the textbooks on how mantle plumes work.
We are sharing with the science community and the public that we should be calling this volcano by the name the Hawaiians have given to it, rather than the western name for the two rocky small islands that are the only above sea level remnants of this once majestic volcano.’