The Big Island is home to many places of cultural importance for the Hawai’ian people. From imposing volcanoes to manmade heiau (temples and sacred sites), Hawai’i possesses a deep spirituality in its landscape.
It is important to respect these sites, as they are meaningful spots with links to history and myth. Many are tightly tied to their natural environment; places like waterfalls and volcanoes can be homes to powerful gods, and Hawai’ian royals themselves were considered to possess divinity.
Heiau can be found all over the island. They are places of quiet reflection and simmering power, and should be observed at a respectful distance.
These sacred sites are still revered by locals today, some of whom leave gifts to the deities who watch over the island.
On The Big Island, two particular National Historic Parks, Puʻuhonua o Hōnaunau and Kaloko-Honokōhau, preserve the cultural legacy of the ancient Hawai’ians. These parks also celebrate their innovation, as they lived in tandem with their wild and sometimes unpredictable environment.
Hawai’i isn’t all beaches and palm trees. Its very landscape is laden with rich cultural history, intertwined with the natural world that nurtured it.
Have you been to the Big Island before? What was your experience? Is love to know in a comment or message!