Hīmeni

nvt. Hymn, any song not used for hulas; to sing a hīmeni. Eng. Hīmeni wae, selected hymn or anthem. Ā hīmeni aku ka poʻe hīmeni (2 Oihn. 29.28), the singers sang.

Merriam-Webster defines a hymn as a song of praise to God as well as a song of praise or joy. 

There are basically two Hawaiian words (there are a couple more but less used) that refer to song (noun) and to sing (verb): Hīmeni and mele. Hīmeni is a more modern term as it is derived from the English term, hymn. Typically, a hīmeni refers to a song you may sing in church such as (here are some of my favorites): ʻEkolu Mea Nui, Iesū nō ke Kahuhipa, Hoe a Mau.  If hīmeni of this variety is your thing, you need to add Nā Hīmeni Haipule Hawaiʻi (by Aunty Martha Hohu who was THE BEST organist at Kaumakapili. EVER!) to your book collection. This is THE must have book on Hīmeni.

Hīmeni has evolved from those “beginning” days (probably soon after the missionaries arrived in 1820) to refer to a broader range of  songs or to sing songs of joy and praise.

This Friday is the Hoʻokūkū Hīmeni – Song Contest – for Kamehameha Schools Kapālama. For sure, an exciting time for the students and their ʻohana. So many fond memories of this hoʻokūkū (competition). I am looking forward to hearing He ʻOno (mahalo to Bina Mossman for all of her beautiful mele that will be sung by all the classes) being sung by the senior men. When I was a freshman, we sung He ʻOno and, of course, we thought we would win. And we didn’t. But still we were GOOD. The theme is Naʻu e Lei and all songs are compositions of Bina Mossman such as, Niu Haohao, Stevedore Hula, and Laelae. I can’t wait.

E hīmeni kākou iā Hoʻonani – Let’s sing Hoʻonani.

He nahenahe ka hīmeni ʻo Ua Mau – The hymn Ua Mau is so beautiful.

ʻŌlelo Noʻeau

ʻAʻohe i maneʻo iho ke kumu pepeiao i kāu hīmeni – Even the base of the ear isn’t tickled by your song (A rude remark to one whose song or story is not appealing.)

Copyright: 2017 – 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 without written consent. 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. Address 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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