Postcards from Hawai’i, Part II: Sacred Sites

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.

Photo credit: canuckrunningamuck
Photo credit: canuckrunningamuck
Photo credit: canuckrunningamuck

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.

Photo credit: canuckrunningamuck
Photo credit: canuckrunningamuck
Photo credit: canuckrunningamuck

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.

Photo credit: canuckrunningamuck
Photo credit: canuckrunningamuck

These sacred sites are still revered by locals today, some of whom leave gifts to the deities who watch over the island.

Photo credit: canuckrunningamuck
Photo credit: canuckrunningamuck

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.

Photo credit: canuckrunningamuck
Photo credit: canuckrunningamuck
Photo credit: canuckrunningamuck

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.

Photo credit: canuckrunningamuck

Have you been to the Big Island before? What was your experience? Is love to know in a comment or message!

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