Mai Kāpae i ke Aʻo

Mai kāpae i ke aʻo a ka makua, aia he ola ma laila.

Do not set aside the teachings of one’s parents for there is life there.

A dear friend of mine wrote a book called “ʻO Kelekolio, ka Manini Liʻiliʻi” that tells of a manini who went too close to a sewage pipe in the ocean, despite his mother’s warnings. The end result was a loss of all his scales, and he had to “borrow” scales from the different fish in the ocean. He was a far cry from the easy to identify Convict Tang (its English name, named for its stripes). The moral of the story is the ʻōlelo noʻeau above: Mai kāpae i ke aʻo a ka makua, aia he ola ma laila. Do not set aside the teachings of your parents, for there is life there.

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Remember your younger days? How many times did you think your parents didn’t know what they were talking about, not up with the times, naive, out of touch, stuck in the “old ways” and “old days”? And no matter how many times they told you that they have been there, done that, it didn’t make much of a difference. At least that is how I felt.

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Seems even harder to get this message across to children in these trying times, especially as children reach their teen years. As Tommy Kaulukukui said, teaching is all about modeling, mimicking and mentoring, in that order. We must model positive values so our children mimic those actions and as they do so, or not, we serve as mentors on the side to guide them along the way and support them in any way we can. Being a positive role model and being a good listener is our best line of action. What helps me in dealing with my children, and now my grandchildren, is reflecting upon my own youth and experiences. And remembering how difficult it was, at times, and then imagining the many additional challenges children today face that we never had to consider way back in “the old days.”

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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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Hoʻomaikaʻi

To thank, bless, render thanks, congratulate, make acceptable, praise, improve, perfect, correct; grateful, gratified, thankful. 

Tomorrow, many families throughout the nation will celebrate the holiday we know as Thanksgiving. My family will set aside the stories we learned in school involving Pilgrims and Native Americans feasting joyously together. We choose, instead, to spend the day being thankful for the bounty of our ʻāina and the blessings in our lives.

The Hawaiian word for blessings and thankfulness is hoʻomaikaʻi. It is also the word we use as part of Thanksgiving Day – Lā Hoʻomaikaʻi. The word hoʻomaikaʻi comes from the word maikaʻi, meaning good, fine, all right, well. The hoʻo– is a causative. Basically, it causes maikaʻi-ness to happen. Hoʻomaikaʻi means to cause goodness, wellness. And when you cause goodness or wellness, then surely it is something to be thankful for. It is a blessing.

Sometimes, in happy occasions and even sad times, I say to myself, hoʻomaikaʻi. What a blessing. So many things to be thankful for in life. When we bless the food we are about to eat, we hoʻomaikaʻi i ka ʻai. We are grateful and give thanks for the food.

Everyday I show up at work, I hoʻomaikaʻi i ke aliʻi Kaleleonālani. I give thanks for Queen Emma, affectionately known as Kaleleonālani. She was given that name after the death of her beloved son and her husband. Despite the pain and grief she suffered, she continued to be a compassionate leader in Hawaiʻi. While no longer a queen, she continued her humanitarian efforts. She frequently visited patients and formed a relief society to do the same. She is most well known for her efforts to start a hospital to help the Hawaiian people. She also started the St. Andrew’s Priory School for Girls and also laid the groundwork for ʻIolani School, named after her husband, King Kamehameha IV.

Everyday I go home, I hoʻomaikaʻi i ke aloha ʻohana. I give thanks for the love of family. Whoever you consider part of your family, whether by blood, marriage or through friends near or far, what a BLESSING to have someone in your life. And what a blessing that YOU can be that special person in someone else’s life.

Hauʻoli lā Hoʻomaikaʻi iā ʻoukou a pau – Happy Thanksgiving Day to each and everyone of you.

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Hāpai

1. To carry, bear, lift, elevate, raise, hoist, holdup. 2. Pregnant; to conceive.

Ironic, isn’t it, that the word for carry is also the word for pregnancy or to be pregnant – hāpai.

If a wahine says she is hāpai, she is pregnant.

What an exciting time for the entire ʻohana. E ola ka inoa! The name will live on! And this child will be raised by everyone, from older siblings to parents and, of courese, grandparents. Everyone is tasked with making sure that all goes well during this time. It is important that the mother to be stays away from all forms of negativity, gets good exercise, particularly in the ocean, gets lomilomi (Hawaiian massage) regularly, and receives care from those skilled in obstetrics.

Prenatal care was practiced in Hawaiʻi long before the introduction of Western medicine. A hāpai woman would be visited by a pale keiki (midwife) or a kahuna pale keiki (similar to an OB doctor). This person would assess the overall health of the wahine hāpai (expectant female) was good and that the baby was in a good position and growing as expected.

As with most expressions, there are several ways to say someone is hāpai without coming right out and saying it: Ua laulau (Is a wrapper)Have you eaten a laulau? It is a steamed meal consisting of meat and fish wrapped with several lūʻau/taro leaves and then ti leaves wrapped around the lūʻau. If someone says “ua laulau” that means the woman who is hāpai is the wrapper of the new life within.! She is hāpai. Another way not so kind is “Ua puʻu” – lumpy. Puʻu also refers to any protuberance like a pimple or wart.

Did you know that there are phallic rocks in Hawaiʻi? Wahine who had a difficult time conceiving would take offerings to these rocks and even sleep near them overnight. Hopefully she will be hāpai in the near future. Here is an image of the most well known of the phallic rocks, Ka Ule o Nānāhoa, located in Molokaʻi. Take a visit and you will see that some still leave offerings at this well known site.

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ʻOnipaʻa

vs. Fixed, immovable, motionless, steadfast, established, firm, resolute, determined (this was the motto of Ka-mehameha V and of Liliʻu-o-ka-lani. Lit., fixed movement.

I was privileged to attend the “Commemorative Celebration of Queen Liliʻuokalani’s 179th Birthday” at Mauna ʻAla (Royal Mausoleum) on the Queen’s birthday, September 2nd. And because ʻonipaʻa was the queen’s motto, it was foremost on everyone’s mind.

ʻOnipaʻa is such an interesting word because it seems to be two opposite words – ʻoni means to move (albeit small movements); paʻa means to be fixed, stuck, secure, firm.

Why do you think Kamehameha V (Lot) and Liliʻuokalani chose ʻonipaʻa as their motto? As their word to live by? They ruled during trying times. Foreigners were demanding more and more land, power and interest in government and business affairs. Perhaps Lot and Liliʻuokalani  knew that as time progressed and as foreign influence continued to affect the Hawaiian people, it was important to “move” when necessary and then to be firm in that move. And if you know the history of the illegal overthrow during Liliʻuokalani’s reign, you will know she lived this motto in all ways.

I liken ʻonipaʻa to being sure footed. When I am standing on the sand and a wave is coming, sometimes I must adjust my footing to avoid falling over. I have to ʻoni a paʻa – move in order to be firm. Only a fool would not try to do the same. When debating a point, sometimes you have to listen, perhaps concede or agree to an opposing view in order to fully grasp where you stand. ʻOni to get to a better place and then be paʻa again.

If we all consider this as we move through life, perhaps things would be a bit better. Trump denies climate change. Really? I think he better consider some ʻoni action right now as he figures out how to assist Texas and Florida. And it is far from over. He needs to ʻonipaʻa. Change his tune a bit and then be resolute.

 

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Lāuli

Solar Eclipse (literally: dark day)

I was watching KGMB news this morning as Mileka Lincoln (LOVE HER!) lamented the clouds obscuring the view of the solar eclipse. People gathered on the Eastern shores of Oʻahu only to be disappointed by the lāuli, or lack thereof.

Rest assured, the view on Hawaiʻi Island was where you should have been (Mileka should have flown home!). The sky, at least from Hāmākua and Waimea, was incredible this morning. Mauna Kea cloaked herself in white for the occasion, as if to properly dress for such a formal occasion as she greets her akua ʻohana, Kānehoalani (the sun) and Hina (the moon). Perhaps she knew today is a special day as petitioners file their Exceptions to the proposed findings (to permit TMT to move forward).

Eō e Poliʻahu i ke kapu, i ka piko o Mauna a Wākea. Ola!

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ʻŌlena

Turmeric

Hawaiians have and continue to use plants to heal. One such plant that is commonly used to this day is ʻōlena, also known as turmeric. It’s likely you’ve had ʻōlena before, as it is a common ingredient in curry sauces and powders.

ʻŌlena arrived in Hawaiʻi with the Polynesians who migrated here. If you see the plant above and below the ground, you may notice its resemblance to its cousin, ginger. In fact, ʻōlena has a similar growing season to ginger. The above ground parts die back in the winter (just like ginger) but when it does, don’t think the plant is dead and gone. The rhizomes (what many refer to as the roots) are alive and well underground and ready to sprout once the weather warms up again.

In Hawaiʻi ʻōlena is prized for its medicinal qualities. It can be used fresh or dried, juiced, grated, whatever suits your needs. The powder that is sold in grocery or health food stores. It has a unique flavor, color, and taste.

ʻŌlena is said to be useful for:

  • Nasal ailments
  • blood purifying
  • immune system strengthening
  • wound healing
  • ear infections
  • detoxification
  • antioxidant properties
  • inflammation

Some swear by a mixture of ʻōlena with coconut milk and black pepper (to aid with absorption) to help with insomnia. Others take ʻōlena capsules daily as part of their overall health regiment.

ʻŌlena is easy to grow. Just get a piece of rhizome, stick it in the ground and wait. Soon enough, you should see the stem appearing. It grows well in pots, in garden boxes, or directly in the ground.

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haʻawina

n. Lesson, assignment, task, gift (Rom. 11.29), appropriation, allowance, grant, or contribution, honorarium, allotment, award, as of money; donation, portion, deal or hand in cards, dream, article (section in a law).

Haʻawina, the general term used for lesson, task or assignment, is apropos today as it is day 1 for most schools in Hawaiʻi. Plenty haʻawina will be shared among teachers and students. Hopefully back and forth, reciprocally.

Most of all, though, I love that haʻawina also refers to gift. Isn’t it the truth, though? Whenever we learn a lesson, especially those that may be difficult to swallow, it is a gift. Any opportunity to learn something that will make our world or our lives a better place to be is a gift.

And dream! The connection I make there is that we frequently learn from our dreams if we are open to it.

Did you receive an award of money? Count that as a haʻawina. Wow. So useful this word! I usually use it for lesson or assignment (that is the teacher in me), but I am going to make a conscious effort to

Nui kaʻu mau haʻawina – I have learned a lot.

Ua maopopo anei iā ʻoe ka haʻawina? – Did you understand the lesson?

Ua loaʻa mai kekahi haʻawina no kaʻu hana – I received a grant award for my work.

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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