One of Hawaii’s most amazing features that you will never “see” is the strong sense of spirit that pervades this place. Here are some components that make up the spiritual side of Hawaii that we love so much.
The spiritual side of Hawaii is in the Aloha Spirit
The phrase aloha spirit can describe the attitude of locals towards each other. For example, random people will wave at each other or give the classic “howzit?” (how’s it) to others at the beach. People aren’t shy to talk to others in a public place. It’s a warm feeling. That’s why it’s called the “aloha spirit” not the “aloha environment.” It’s a spirit because it’s an aura that emanates from a feeling. Another component of the aloha spirit is the fact that we address our elders as “aunty” and “uncle.” Although those terms might be seen as indicators of a biological relationship, the Hawaiian culture uses them as respect for elders. It’s an endearing term, that’s why it’s part of the aloha spirit. The terms “Mr.” and “Mrs.” have less warm connotations compared to “aunty” and “uncle.”
The spiritual side of Hawaii is in that Amazing Awesome is right outside your door
It does not take much to get to the nearest beach, hike, or beautiful view when you live in Hawaii. Beaches and adventures are always nearby. There’s always something awesome right outside your door, even if that “awesome” is just enjoying an 80 degree environment in the midst of February! There’s so much to explore in Hawaii that you always have something to do. Although the seasons don’t change and there aren’t any winter sports, that just means that you get to do the typical fun summer activities all year long!
The spiritual side of Hawaii means that Time matters more than toys
The term “toys” refers to things like boats, RVs, ATVs, multiple vehicles, etc. In Hawaii, because we have limited space and money, people don’t have a place to park their boats or ATVs. The residential properties here just aren’t that big. Also, the islands don’t have room for RV parks. There’s just not that much room. So, time matters more than toys in the islands. People don’t have personal boats in Hawaii like on the mainland. If you have a boat in Hawaii, it’s because you’re a fisherman and you need it for your livelihood. What you do with your time in Hawaii is more valuable than what you do with your toys, simply because people don’t accumulate toys in Hawaii like they do on the mainland. The only toys that might be popular would be surfboards, and those don’t offer a fashion statement as far as brand or design. People don’t critique surfboards like they do cars when it comes to making a statement.
Hawaii is just plain spiritually powerful
The Hawaiian culture embraces spirituality. Polytheistic Hawaiian religion acknowledges that physical things and place can be a host for spirituality. For example, the lava rocks from Kilauea and Mauna Loa are very sacred and should not be taken from these sites, even as a souvenir. Respect for the land is part of this spiritual powerness throughout the islands, one of the reasons why the Native Hawaiian community leads several efforts for environmental preservation. The respect for the land is rooted in this culture of spiritual power.
The spiritual side of Hawaii is in the Heiau – ancient temples
Heiaus are scattered throughout the islands – at least the ones remaining. They are essentially ancient Hawaiian sacred temples. However, they don’t offer any of the typical dome-shape architectures that you may think of when you hear the word “temple.” These sacred temples were built for religious goals, to heal the sick, and other reasons. Because of pressure from Christian missionaries, many of the heiaus were destroyed or left to fall to ruins in the early 1800s. Some heiaus have been restored and can be visited as an attraction today, but the local community asks for the utmost respect.
That is the one word I use over and over when describing my visit to Hawaii last year. S P I R I T U A L ! It’s hard to explain, but I found it so spiritual and am so drawn to return – almost like I don’t have a choice – I NEED to be there!
I’d say that’s definitely a huge part of what keeps me here.
The king banned the native religion before the missionaries arrived. The kapu system was used in Hawaii until 1819, when King Kamehameha II abolished it.
There is a downside to aloha spirit. If you consistently ignore it, you are courteously ignored.
Thank you for your post. I feel the spirit of Aloha when I am on Hawaii. You put that feeling to words very well. Mahalo.
Thanks! I’m glad!
I’d like to hear more about other customs unique to Hawaii. I certainly want to respect the people and the land.
Loved your article & I totally agree with you. Thank you for sharing.