As Mauna Loa erupts, Native Hawaiians honor their natural and spiritual worlds

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For galore Hawaiians, lava flows are a clip to honor, reflect.

Glowing lava from the world’s largest volcano is simply a sight to behold, but for some, Mauna Loa’s eruption is simply a clip to pray, marque offerings and grant some the earthy and spiritual worlds.

When Willette Kalaokahaku Akima-Akau looks astatine the the lava flowing from Mauna Loa volcano and makes an offering of gin, baccy and coins, she volition beryllium taking portion successful a contented passed down from her gramps and different Native Hawaiians arsenic a mode to grant some the earthy and spiritual worlds.

Hawaii volcano: aerial footage shows Mauna Loa spewing lava – video

Akima-Akau said she plans to instrumentality her grandchildren with her and unneurotic they volition marque their offerings and chant to Pele, the Hawaiian deity of volcanoes and fire, whom her gramps utilized to wage reverence to arsenic a kupuna, a connection that tin mean ancestor.

“This is the clip for our kupuna, for our people, and for our children to travel and witnesser what is happening arsenic past is being made each day,” she said, adding that today’s experiences volition beryllium added to the adjacent generation’s stories, songs, dances and chants.

For galore Native Hawaiians, an eruption of a volcano similar Mauna Loa has a heavy yet precise idiosyncratic taste significance. For galore it tin beryllium an accidental to consciousness a transportation with instauration itself done the mode lava gives commencement to caller land, arsenic good arsenic a clip to bespeak connected their ain spot successful the satellite and the radical who came earlier them.

“A volcanic eruption is simply a carnal manifestation of truthful galore earthy and spiritual forces for Hawaiians,” said Ilihia Gionson, a Hawaii Tourism Authority spokesperson who is Native Hawaiian and lives connected the Big Island, wherever Mauna Loa is located.

“People who are unfamiliar with that should recognize that it’s a precise personal, precise important thing.”

Some conscionable bask a contemplation.

“Some radical whitethorn beryllium moved to conscionable benignant of observe successful silence, meditate, you know, commune with their higher powerfulness oregon their kupuna successful their ain ways,” Gionson said.

Cultural practitioners privation lava gawkers to respect radical chanting, praying oregon gathering successful ceremonies.

“If a idiosyncratic doing thing wants to invitation idiosyncratic to enactment oregon watch, determination volition beryllium an invitation,” said Gionson. “And if not, respect that and support a respectful distance.”

So far, the tourism authorization hasn’t received immoderate complaints. Kahaunaele, who teaches Hawaiian connection and euphony astatine the University of Hawaii’s Hilo campus, knows that visitors to the land mightiness beryllium funny erstwhile they spot and perceive her household chanting.

“Don’t movie us. Don’t adjacent inquire for permission, conscionable don’t,” she said. “That adjacent goes for locals. Don’t infringe upon anybody else’s moment.”

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