The Aloha Spirit

Hawaiians Traditions Hold Secrets To Planet Protection.

Jamie Russo


Photo by Drew Farwell on Unsplash | Hana, Maui, HI

I grew up in a family that valued travel and had the means to afford a big trip every year. One year, we escaped to the beautiful island of Maui. What I discovered in Hawaii wasn’t just white sand beaches and stunning scenery, but a completely different culture and a different way of thinking.

The aloha spirit makes Hawaii a one of a kind place.

Over time, I discovered many Hawaiian traditions. We’re all familiar with hula, but there were other ideas that stuck with me still to this day. One of those ideas is called Malama and it means “to take care of.” Hawaiians use Malama to describe their “ care for others” and “care for people.”

But Malama is used in a lot of different ways across Hawaiian culture. In the context of Malama ‘Aina, Hawaiians describe an important cultural tradition: “care for the land.”

Photo by Drew Farwell on Unsplash | Mānoa, Honolulu, HI

Hawaii is an island of extremes — the dry deserts of Kaʻū and the lush forests of Kohala, the soaring cliffs of Hamakua and sandy beaches, the snow-capped peak of Maunakea, and the raging volcanic fires of Kilauea. These diverse landscapes are parts of ancient legends. The locals will tell you that gods and island spirits designed these shapes.

Poliahu, the goddess of snow, held her domain atop Maunakea. She embraced clouds and mist, wore a mantle of snow, and fed the streams of the fertile landscape below. The Hamakua Coast on the eastern flank of Maunakea was her playground. She would slide down the mountain on a wooden sled at great speed and launch into the ocean.

One day, another goddess named Pele, challenged Poliahu to a race down the mountain. Pele was the goddess of volcanic fire and she often traveled across the islands looking for a suitable place to live and play. Poliahu welcomed the challenge and the two climbed atop the mountain before rushing down towards the sea.

The race was neck and neck before Poliahu took the lead. Frustrated, Pele summoned her great volcanic forces and fountains of fire erupted from…