Aloha Spirit

Aloha Spirit

Here we consider that unique Island mindset that makes this place so special. In one sense, the aloha spirit is the thousands of elements that make up the Hawaiian and local way of life.

the aloha spirit

He ‘Olina Leo Ka Ke Aloha – Joy is in the voice of love.

When you’re born and raised here, you just get it. If not, it’s nice to know about it. As much as the world loves Hawaii for its natural beauty, the lion’s share of its treasure lies with its community. Hawaii is one of the world’s best examples of a melting pot: many people here have ten or more ethnicities in their family tree. We are sustained by the original Hawaiian culture, which goes back more than a thousand years, and perhaps forever. Only 7,000 pure-blooded Hawaiians remain, but their race, and their culture, is perpetuated by more than a quarter-million part-Hawaiians here and a half-million nation-wide. In fact, the culture has never been more alive since the time of contact with the West, when Captain Cook behaved badly and was killed and eaten (sort of) for his trouble, and things only went downhill for the Hawaiian after that.

Cook’s legacy carried on in the disease he brought to Hawaii: the epidemics of measles, tuberculosis, syphilis, and even the common cold (which drowned Hawaiians, the best of swimmers, frantic to cool off their fevers). Then came leprosy bubonic plague, and smallpox. By the time the worst of the diseases had run their course, the population of native Hawaiians had been decimated, from about a million at the time of contact in 1779, to just 45,000 at the time of the first Hawaiian census in 1845.

Not to be outdone, the missionaries took all the remaining fun out of being Hawaiian. They banned the hula and forbade Hawaiian schoolchildren to speak their own language. A certain sea captain added to their misery by sloshing ashore on Maui a barrel of mosquito-infested water that he had brought back to Hawaii from Central America, as payback to the chiefs who had forbidden their women to socialize with the whalers. Notwithstanding all that and more, the Hawaiians persist. The decimation of their race has made it more urgent for Hawaiians to find their political voice and perpetuate native Hawaiian culture. The Hawaiians and their values, beliefs, and practices are the bedrock of our community and the aloha spirit.

As Hawaiians began to die out in the 19th century, there were fewer and fewer of them who were available and willing to do the brutal work of cutting sugar cane on the plantations. They weren’t lazy. In fact, the only fat people in olden times were the royalty, whose corpulence symbolized their gravitas to commoners. But the idea of working for cash was alien to a people that had little experience with money, and for whom hard work had been largely a labor of love. Given the labor shortage, the government of Hawaii imported workers from throughout the Pacific: Okinawa and Japan, Korea, the Philippines, and China, even Portugal and Puerto Rico. These immigrants became the nucleus of the local community that mixed and mingled to create the polyglot melting pot of today’s Hawaii. During the five generations that have transpired since, the many cultures of the Pacific and the world at large have taken root in the Hawaiian bedrock and intertwined to produce countless new iterations of the aloha spirit.

Anything goes here… in good directions.

P.S. If you have a taste for history, we invite you to partake of our history banquet at our companion site WisdomMaps.info.

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the aloha spirit