Manawa

1. n. Time, turn, season, date, chronology, period of time. Cf. haʻi manawa. No ka manawa, for the time being, for a short time or while, temporary. Ia manawa, ia manawa nō, at this time, then, contemporary. Nā manawa āpau loa, always, all the time. I ka manawa hea, when. ʻElua manawa, twice, two times. No ka manawa pōkole, for a short time or while, for awhile. Mai kēia manawa aku, henceforth, from now on. Manawa iki, a moment. Manawa mau loa, eternal; eternity. Manawa ʻole, in no time, instantly, immediately. Manawa ua, rainy season. Hoʻopaumanawa, to waste time. I kēlā manawa i kēia manawa, now and then, from time to time. ʻO kou manawa kēia, this is your turn. I ka manawa o Ka-mehameha, in the time of Ka-mehameha. Nā bona no ka manawa, term bonds.

2. vs. For a short time, infrequent. Kū manawa ka moku, the ship stops infrequently.

3. n. Affections, feelings, disposition, heart, seat of emotions. Cf. manawahuwā, manawa ʻino, manawaleʻa,manawanui. Hāliʻaliʻa mai ke aloha pili paʻa i kuʻu manawa (song), recalling love dwelling firmly in my affections. (PPNmanawa).

4. n. Anterior fontanel in the heads of infants; top of the head of adults at position of the fontanel.

Wow! That’s a lot of meanings for a relatively simple word. Today we will focus on #4. Anterior fontanel in the heads of infants. Manawa. In that topmost part of a newborn’s head you can actually see it pulsing. Beating. The soft area is what allows the skull bones to “flex” so that the head can pass through the birth canal. It eventually closes after several months.

This part of the baby is considered sacred. Kapu ke poʻo – the head is sacred. That’s why we NEVER EVER hit a baby’s head. Or pet it (like a dog). That’s a no no. I remember learning that early on.

Our kupuna would actually chew up food and place it on the manawa of infants as another way to “feed” the baby. Māna ʻai.  Food chewed by an adult for an infant. Offer sustenance.

In the same way that the manawa of a kanaka is sacred, so, too, is Mauna Kea. As the highest summit IN THE WORLD (yes, if you measure it from the ocean floor to its peak, Mauna a Wākea is the highest peak in the WORLD), it serves as the MANAWA to our earth. It is SACRED. You do not touch it. You do not desecrate it. You do not disrespect it. You FEED it. How? by caring for it. By offering hoʻokupu in the form of oli, mele, hula. By looking up to it (if you are so fortunate to do so everyday here on Hawaiʻi Island) and saying a prayer of thanks for all its glory and beauty. By not blowing it up to build a telescope.

ʻO Mauna Kea ka manawa o ka honua – Mauna Kea is the fontanel of the earth.

Mālama kākou i ka manawa – We care for/protect the fontanel.

Mahalo iā Kalei no kona hoʻomanaʻo ʻana mai no ka mana o ka manawa – Thank you to Kalei for reminding me of the sacred power of the fontanel.

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2015 – Liana Iaea Honda. All rights reserved. All versions of He Momi e Lei ai”, in its entirety, past and present, is the property of L. K. I. Honda. Reproduction and use of any kind other than the sharing of this website is prohibited. Alteration to the original content in any form is prohibited in every and any instance, and use in any other variant is prohibited without written consent of the author.

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2 Responses to Manawa

  1. Ruth MK Nakoa Smith says:

    ThIs is beautiful and spoken like a true KUPUNA.. Maybe now people of the world can maopopo the sacredness of this Mauna, then they can see why we Hawaiians are fighting so hard to preserve this Mauna, and all kanaka aina for the sake of our cultural beliefs and the future of our keiki that one day they’ll have the opportunity to experience the beauty of their heritage!!

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