Thursday, July 26, 2007

Maui 2007 Photos of Cultural Experiences

This is part two of my three part Maui vacation pictures. For me, the heart of my Hawaii visits is always the Hawaiian culture. These are all from our second week of vacation, after our family left and Hubbie and I were on our own. They are all taken by Hubbie Mark or me.

We spent some time at Ho'omana'o, an interactive Hawaiian cultural experience, where we had a chance to "talk story" with Native Hawaiians who demonstrated traditional ways of living the Hawaiian way.




Here I am getting a chance to do a few steps of the hula, which was originally a form of whole-body prayer for Hawaiians. It was prohibited by Christian missionaries for this reason, but also because the attire and movements were considered lascivious. Due to the missionary influence, many Hawaiians converted to Christianity and began to wear Victorian dress. The hula was banned for many years.










I really got into throwing this spear!





We visited a Buddhist temple and saw this peaceful statue of the Buddha, the largest in the US:



By far, the most moving experience of our vacation was going on the Maui Nei Walking Tour. This is something you should not miss if you visit Maui and you love Hawaii. It is a tour of the history of Lahaina, led by a Hawaiian tour guide who weaves her/his experiences and knowledge of history and beliefs into the tour. It encompasses the whaling history, the missionary experience, and of course, the Native Hawaiian culture. Because each tour guide has a different background, the tour can be taken again and again and enjoyed each time.

Here I am waiting for the tour, with no idea of the great impact it would have on me!


The tour was led by Kalani, who "talked story" with us and spent two hours pounding the pavement with us, answering our questions, and revealing fascinating details.


What is with this doll? It is a doll belonging to a missionary's daughter at the Baldwin House, but the look on it's face was definitely unique for a doll and kind of creeped me out. In fact, the whole part the missionaries played in Hawaii kind of creeps me out. They intended to do good, and accomplished much that was good, but their influence began years of oppression of the culture of Native Hawaiians. Fortunately, there is currently a Hawaiian Renaissance---a pro-Native Hawaiian movement---taking place that may prevent the language and traditions from dying out.


Periodically, Wainani Kealoha, our chanter for the tour, would almost ethereally appear, and chant before we entered sacred areas. This added a precious spiritual dimension to the tour.



This is part of the sacred site of Moku'ula, a royal and sacred sanctuary that was buried under a ballpark and is currently in the process of being restored. It moved us in ways that words cannot express. Although we are not Native Hawaiian in our spiritual beliefs, the impact of Moku'ula was undeniable for both of us. We are very supportive of the grassroots effort of the Hawaiian people to reclaim this part of their heritage that was taken from them.


I'll put up the last, and best photos of Maui tomorrow. I hope you enjoy these and they give you a taste of the peace and beauty of Hawaii.

2 comments:

Karen said...

Olivia--

thanks so much for your comment on my blog. I appreciate the good thoughts.

That said, I realize that I started but never finished a banner for your blog. I will get back to it tomorrow--the girls and I will be home all weekend with no car, so we'll probably all be hanging out in the studio anyway! I'm so sorry I lost your banner in the shuffle. This summer's been hectic, as you can see--Katie sick, Joel starting high school and playing on three baseball teams, and everything in the house seems to be breaking down!

I'll keep in contact. (What finally happened with the CFIDS? you don't suffer from it anymore?)

Olivia said...

Karen, take your time, you have enough on your plate...focus on Katie, and later you can do my banner...I'm not in a hurry...thank you for your generosity.

Hubbie helped cure my CFIDS. After years of trying everything to get well, he and I were reunited after 30 years of being apart and in difficult marriages. My doctors figured the jolt to my immune system of being in love and being loved cured me.

Blessings to you and your family, esp. continued prayers for Katie!