1. vi. To bathe. Cf. ʻau 1, wai ʻauʻau. ʻAuʻau kai, to bathe in the sea. ʻAuʻau wai, to bathe in fresh water. Hale ʻauʻau, bathhouse. hō.ʻau.ʻau To give a bath. (PPN kaukau.)

And yet another word I just don’t hear enough of today in Hawaiʻi. ʻAuʻau was a staple word when I was growing up. We used it as much or more than aloha and mahalo. Every single day we used it because every single day my parents had to tell me when to go ʻauʻau. Bathe. Or bafe, as some would say. Go ʻauʻau. I pau ʻauʻau. Common. Everyday. Sometimes more than once a day. Hey, when you live in Hawaiʻi, you gotta ʻauʻau at least once a day. Even my mom whose first language is Danish used ‘au’au when we were growing up because that’s all she ever heard from my dad and everyone else.

It wasn’t until I was in high school that I heard the word bocha. My sister in law who is part Japanese used it. Never ever heard it ever. Never before I heard it from her. I don’t even know if I am spelling it correctly.

And now I feel like EVERYONE uses bocha. I have nothing against the word but it makes me sad, especially when I hear Hawaiian families using bocha instead of ʻauʻau. Maybe the use of bocha is more prevalent Hilo side because of the high population of Japanese folks. But seriously. We are in Hawai’i. Let’s use ‘au’au.

ʻauʻau – Go bathe.

Ke hōʻauʻau nei ʻo ia i kāna pēpē – She is bathing her baby.

Ua ʻauʻau nā keiki – The kids bathed.

Copyright:  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. Adress inquiries to: hemomi [at] gmail.com. Definitions and wise sayings are from: Hawaiian Dictionary by Pukui and Elbert, 1986. ʻŌlelo Noʻeau – Hawaiian Proverbs & Poetical Sayings by Mary Kawena Pukui, 1983.

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