The Root of Life

 Posted by on 11/30/2012
Nov 302012
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Taro Plant

It was great to visit home for Thanksgiving with my ‘ohana.  It gave me a lot of time to disconnect with the rest of the world and spend time with them.  I decided to take time away from my site to give them my full attention.

Thanksgiving at the Aipa house is always filled with plentiful amounts of food, laughter, and stories.  While most of the family were in the house, my dad, uncle and I sat on our porch in deep conversation.

We talked about my blog, my vision for all of this, and the Hawaiian culture.  There were varying views on certain topics but one interesting thought came up: what is the root of life?

In the Hawaiian culture the taro plant, or kalo, is seen as the greatest life source of all foods.  This belief came  from the Hawaiian creation chant, the Kumulipo, where it mentions the first-born son of Wakea (sky father) and Papa (earth mother) died at birth and was buried.  Then from out of the body grew a kalo plant. 

The root of kalo can be pounded into poi  (that paste-like purple stuff you see at a luau) which was the primary food source for the people of ancient Hawaii.  Families would come together, take a seat around a large bowl of poi, and eat from it one at a time.  This simple ceremony of coming together and sharing this source of food showed love, appreciation, support, aloha, and made the family pono.

What does Kalo stand for today?

I’m not advising you to start eating poi.  Some can’t stand it while others love it. I love it.  But what I want you to realize what kalo symbolizes in today’s world.

As a Native Hawaiian, kalo is still a sacred symbol. There is no doubt.  Today, having kalo in your home isn’t normal.  Times have changed and many homes, even in Hawaii, don’t have this food which was once a staple to the Native Hawaiians.

But it’s important to know you can still have this root of life in your homes every day in one simple way:

Your ‘Ohana. Your family.  

Kalo was used to bring the ‘ohana together and is a symbol of our deep connection with the land, our chief. Your ‘ohana consist of relatives by blood, non-relations who have been embraced into your family, members who have passed away and your ancestors.  Hawaiians also include their aumakua, the ancestral guardian spirit of the family.  My family has the shark, mano, as one of ours.

Having a strong ‘ohana enriches your life in many different ways:

  • Support
  • Security
  • Food
  • Shelter
  • Aloha
  • Love
  • Wisdom
  • Sense of well-being
  • Education

Keeping a strong sense of ‘ohana is very important for a meaningful and fulfilling life.  Since the holiday season is here – take a deep look into your family and go over the list above.

Ask yourself if each one of these is present in your family. If one is not, how can YOU bring it in? Don’t sit there and blame others for what is missing, think of ways on how you can contribute. Like my mom once said, “No make pilikia. No make trouble. Just give Aloha.”

Mahalo. Aloha. A hui hou.



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