Many people associate the word “aloha’ with hello, goodbye, or love. However, those who have grown up in Hawaii or have lived on the islands for a long period of time would say that aloha has many meanings, deeper than just a greeting.
If you were to ask someone in Hawaii, “What does aloha mean to you?” you may receive a variety of answers. Aloha is an essence of being: love, peace, compassion, and a mutual understanding of respect. Aloha means living in harmony with the people and land around you with mercy, sympathy, grace, and kindness. When greeting another person with aloha, there is mutual regard and affection. This extends with warmth in caring for the other with no obligation to receive anything in return.
The direct translation from Hawaiian to English is the presence of divine breath. The Hawaiian word alo is presence, front and face, and ha is breath.
The Spirit of Aloha is:
Akahi- kindness to be expressed with tenderness
Lokahi- unity to be expressed with harmony
Oluolu- agreeable to be expressed with pleasantness
Haahaa- humility to be expressed with modesty
Ahonui- patience to be expressed with perseverance
Aloha is the true meaning and symbol of the Hawaiian culture and lifestyle: respect and love one another, and live in harmony with everything around you. Aloha is not something that is spoken, it is something that must be experienced.
A traditional Hawaiian greeting starts by sharing ha, or their breath. The exchange of breath is done when two individuals press their foreheads and noses together while inhaling at the same time. This exchange is a significant part of Hawaiian culture. Hawaiians recognized that the breath is key to good health and believed it possesses mana or spiritual power.
Exchanging ha is a practice that rarely happens anymore, however, those connected with Hawaiian culture and heritage will often greet each other in this fashion. This breath exchange relates to aloha because the sharing of the breath is a sign of respect, of allowing another person in close to you, essentially the essence of aloha.
At Skyline, we do our best to embody the spirit of aloha with guests on our tours, to welcome them into our hale (home), treat them as part of our family, and teach about the Hawaiian culture. The spirit of aloha is unique to Hawaii, but it is something you can share anywhere you are in the world.
About the Author: Skyline Eco-Adventures is Hawaii’s most experienced zipline operator. Feel confident providing your family with a safe and fun adventure during your island stay. To reserve a zipline tour or for more info, visit: https://www.zipline.com/.