I knew I would be called a Haole. I knew that being a Haole meant being white, and being not Hawaiian. However, I wanted to understand the genesis of the word. How did it become the word that symbolized me?
If you are not born in Hawaii or of Hawaiian blood and especially are of European ancestry (read white), you are called a Haole. As we’ve already said, Ha is the Hawaiian word for the breath of life. Therefore, Haoles are thought to be people without Ha because the Hawaiian trade winds blow east. As the winds travel the ocean, the air is purified with rain and sun until they reach Hawaii. Ancient Hawaiians called the trade winds ‘makani’ – life-giving spirit of air. Thus, Haoles were born without makani, without Ha and we are Haoles.
When someone meets another in Hawaii, he or she give a honi greeting, which is placing the nostril gently beside that of the person being greeted, a sharing of breath, of life. You usually see this greeting when a person is being presented with a lei. Along with the beautiful flowers, the person is being presented the breath of life.
Along with the special air and breath of life, Hawaii has its own sound. It is the sound that only an island can make. It is the sound of thanksgiving, of worship, and of love coming from the hearts of its people. It is everywhere. It is in the healthy zone of happiness and joy. It is in the security that comes with peace of mind. It is in the fulfillment of living with a purpose. And it is with the prosperity of living in abundance.
Ho’omoe wai kahi ke kao’o – Let us travel together like water flowing in one direction. Let us live in harmony with other people and the world around you. And let us remember what Hawaii’s last queen had to say about aloha.
Aloha – to learn what is not said, to see what cannot be seen, and to know the unknowable. – Definition by Queen Lili’okalani
Cite: Aloha: The Message of Hawaii by Anolia Orfreecio Facun