You hear this word daily in Hawaii, even around the world. It is universal. People say it coming and going. They say it at the grocery store. They say it when they’re hanging up the phone. They say when greeting others. They say the island is filled with it.
But what, really, does this word mean?
One book tries to bring this home in words and illustrations that are easy to understand.
That book is “Aloha: What It Means To My Ohana and Yours.” It was co-authored and lived by Lahela Keikiala‘au‘o‘wakanahele Chandler Correa and co-authored and designed by Ann Hettinger.
This is a wonderful book for keiki, families and adults. It is used in schools. It spells out, quite clearly, what aloha is.
It is fitting that proceeds from the sale of this 2017 book help to support educational programs for children through Aloha Movement Kauai, a nonprofit.
Chandler Correa’s parents were born and raised in Haena, and both are examples of aloha. They lived it.
“They taught us that aloha was taking care of your family, being kind to everyone, being helpful, being honest, always setting a good example, working hard, doing your best, keeping our name good and always respecting your elders,” she wrote.
“For me, ‘Aloha’ is not just a word, it has a deeper meaning that is endless. Like all things in life if not passed down and taught, it will be forgotten.”
What’s wonderful about this book is what’s inside.
It contains history about Hawaii and explains that in 1810, Kamehameha 1 was the first king to rule all of the Hawaiian Islands. It also explains that the Hawaiian Island were formed by volcanoes and that Kauai is the oldest island. You’ll learn that outrigger canoeing is the official state team sport of Hawaii. You’ll even learn how to make a lei, the proper way to present it, and that the Hawaiian language is one of the oldest living languages in the world. There’s a crossword puzzle that highlights Hawaiian foods.
And there is page dedicated to The Hokulea, the Voyaging Canoe. It is a replication of the original canoes that brought the Polynesians to the islands of Hawaii about 2,000 years.
“The Hawaiian people have a very strong relationship with the ocean and a love for exploration. The voyaging vessel ‘The Hokulea,’ meaning the ‘Star of Gladness,’ is a tribute to the Hawaiian culture past and present.”
And a page outlines hula as “the physical embodiment of prayer. It expresses the feelings and emotions of what we experience in our everyday life and while in its grips allows us to be in touch with the divine.”
But what you will learn most about, and what you need to understand, is aloha.
Aloha, the authors write, is: Akua. Greeting. Kuleana. Respect. Mana. Malama. Hope. Light. Kokua. Kindness. Pono. Openness. Sharing. Love.
“It doesn’t matter if you are white, black, blue or green,” Chandler Correa writes. “I believe we all have ‘Aloha.’ Aloha is considered a gift of the Hawaiian people to the world. Learn and share aloha today.”
Bill Buley, editor-in-chief, can be reached at 245-0457 or firstname.lastname@example.org.