Gods of the Hawaiians Essay

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The Hawaiian Islands are well known for their beauty, tranquility, and unique culture that have shaped this state into what we see today. The special bond that the natives have formed between themselves and nature is not exactly one of a kind, but it is something that can truly be admired. Around approximately 300 AD, Hawaii was discovered by Polynesians who arrived by canoe from Tahiti. These migrants brought their polytheistic spirituality and formed a large intricate society with hierarchies consisting of many chiefs. Alongside the ruling of the chiefs, the newborn Hawaiians followed a strict belief system known as Kapu akua otherwise known as the “law of the gods”. The Kapu was a strict set of rules and restraints that dictated all…show more content…
The strict Kapu made everyday Hawaiian life extremely difficult to live. Offenders were often punished severely with either corporal punishment or sacrificed to honor the gods. If the offense was great enough, on occasion, the family of the offender was also sentenced to death. Although, punishment to defectors was harsh, they often had a chance to redeem themselves. It is said that those who offended could flee to a city of refuge where they had a ritual performed by shamans in order to clean oneself of sin and escape death. Ancient Hawaiians worshipped many gods and demi-gods. The main god known as Kane, represented life and nature while Ku, represented death and war. According to the Kumuhonua Legend: he [Kane] formed the three worlds: the upper heaven of the gods, the lower heaven above the earth and the earth itself as a garden for mankind; the latter he furnished with sea creatures, plants, and animals and fashioned men and women to inhabit it (Beckwith). It was believed that each family had its own personal god to protect them. Personal gods were thought to live vicariously through the animals that surrounded the islands such as the shark or pig. Through these very same animals, it was also believed that families could communicate with the spirits of the deceased. Many temples known as Heiaus as well as other methods were created in order to worship the

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