Here are a few common words you’ll frequently hear when you’re in Hawaii.
First you'll need to know, just what is a haole?
Haole (pronounced HOW-leh) is a Hawaiian word for non-native, particularly white. Though it's been defined in various ways, one common definition takes its meaning from the contraction of these two words: ha = breath or spirit, often interpreted to mean "the sacred breath of life within us all," or "the spirit of the Creator that breathes life into every living being and joins us all as one." ole= no, none, without, lacking. So haole could be translated "without breath" or "having no spirit."
Some linguists say the term originated around the time Christian missionaries first came to the islands, a century and a half ago. Prayer had always been a central part of traditional Hawaiian life, long before missionaries. The native way of praying was to first prepare by breathing deeply and meditating, then to reverently say their prayers, and then to sit breathing deeply again for a while: "breathing life into" their prayers. In contrast, the Christian newcomers prayed by uttering some sentences followed by "Amen." That was all. They didn't spend any time breathing life into their prayers. So, it's been said, Hawaiians called them haoles to mean "those who fail to breathe life into their prayers."
Over the years the word haole has taken on a variety of meanings, most of which pertain to the colonial white culture's lack of sensitivity to the spirituality, depth and richness of Hawaiian culture.
And it's true that most of us haoles, who grew up in industrialized Western Civilization, have little or no awareness of the spirituality within the life all around us. Instead of honoring nature as sacred, and showing reverence for the spirit within all living beings, haoles tend to consume and exploit living things. This lack of reverence for the sacredness of creation makes us appear "soul-less" or empty of spirit. So, as a haole myself writing this (Marcy), may I suggest the following:
While at our Kapehu home, take time to practice being mindful of the spirit of the place. Take a seat on the lanai and just breathe deeply. Smell the sweet air, feel the breezes brush across your skin, and listen to the sounds of the birds and the stream. Look with reverence on the lush green valley and the ocean below, and try to sense the sacredness of the "Life of all life" all around you and within you. Below is your view from the lanai:
Aloha Aloha is a warm and gracious greeting, meaning both hello and goodbye. It’s also a noun that means love, affection, warmth, kindness, compassion, welcome, friendliness. Note that the word contains "ha" which means breath, again referring to the sacred breath of life that enlivens every living being and unites us all as one in spirit. So when you say aloha to someone, you are expressing your warmth and kindheartedness toward them, and you are also acknowledging the sacred breath of life in them - affirming that their spiritual essence is one with your spiritual essence.
Aloha Kakahiaka = good morning.
Aloha Ahiahi = good evening.
Aloha Po =good night. Aina = land, earth, homeland. Kama'aina means native-born.
Hawai’i is the name the native people gave their homeland. It contains ha (the sacred breath of life that enlivens every living being and unites us all as one in spirit) and wai, which means water. So you might translate it to mean the place where breath and life arise out of the waters.
Keiki = child, children. Ohana = family.
E komo mai = Welcome! or "Come on in!"
Mahalo = thank you. Here’s that word ha again (the sacred breath of life that enlivens every living being and unites us all as one in spirit). So when Hawaiians say thank you, they are again honoring your spiritual essence.
Nui = big.
Mahalo nui = a big thanks, or "Thank you very much!"
Mauna = mountain.
Loa = big or long. Thus Mauna Loa is the long mountain.
Mahalo nui loa means a VERY big thanks.
Kai = ocean.
Makai = toward the ocean or downhill. Mauka = in the direction of the mountain, or uphill. Hawaiians don’t think in terms of north, south, east or west. They think in terms of mauka and makai. For example, we refer to the two waterfalls visible from our property as the mauka (upper) wailele and the makai (lower) wailele.
Malama = to preserve, to protect, to take loving care of, to respect, to honor. (Please read our malamahouse rules.)
Pono = good, proper, excellent, correct. When Hawaiians tell you "Malama pono," they are literally saying "Take good card of yourself."
Mana = Spiritual or divine power, healing energy, or miraculous power.
Hau'oli = happy
Wai= water. (the W is pronounced as a V.)
Wiki = quick, fast. When you double a word it's like saying "very" in English. So wikiwiki means very quick.
Wailele: Wai is water, and lele means tumbling, so wailele means tumbling water, or waterfall.
Pua = flower.
Below are two varieties of ginger puas you'll see on the Kapehu property: