TERMINOLOGY KAʻAO Myth Fanciful story or tale; usually fiction An embellished moʻolelo MOʻOLELO Legend Historical in nature Documentation MELE Chant/song form of kaʻao or mele More poetic in nature
HAWAIIAN MYTHS & LEGENDS Distinction between kaʻao as fiction and moʻolelo as fact would lie in the intention of the story. Kaʻao are composed to tickle the fancy versus moʻolelo, which are composed to inform the mind as to supposed events. Hawaiian legends and myths occupy an important place in both the history of the islands and in the understanding of Hawaiian culture today.
4 H’s of Myth Hua (The Catalyst) Haʻalele (The Separation) Huakaʻi (The Journey) Hoʻina (The Return)
HUA: The Catalyst The call to adventure The hero usually starts off in a mundane situation of normality from which some information is received that acts as a call to head off into the unknown Some people refuse the call to adventure and thus, are destined to mediocre lives of survival and convention Those who accept the call to adventure may do so alone or with assistance Often receives supernatural aid in the form of a protective figure that provide special tools and advice for the adventure ahead
HAʻ ALELE: The Separation The point at which the main character separates from the community and embarks on the journey It means leaving the familiar landscape or the environment in which one is comfortable into an unknown realm where the rules and limits are unknown
HUAKAʻ I: The Journey The main character often undergoes a series of tests, tasks, ordeals or challenges that he/she is required to accomplish as part of the adventure Experiences and lessons are learned that leads us to our ancient selves Typified by a trail or path If the path is steep, it often alludes to difficulties The main character may meet up with a mentor Mentor: people you meet along the way who assist you such as an old lady/man, talking animals, fairy godmother, relatives, etc. Everything and everyone in a journey are necessary for growth
HOʻ INA: The Return After answering the call to adventure and meeting its trials, the main character must return and integrate back into the community The main character returns to the ordinary world with an item or awareness that will benefit the society left earlier The main character returns to tell his/her story and to serve as inspiration for others who have not yet answered their call
DIFFERENT FACETS TO CONSIDER IN HAWAIIAN MYTHS & LEGENDS Historical Elements Documentation of Place Names Names have a lot of mana (spiritual power/force). They are incorporated into myths/legends/mele for a reason. 1st hula, important events, etc. Biographical Elements Gods, goddesses, deities, etc. Characters of the story The meaning of people’s names often have a lot of mana and can add insight into the character
DIFFERENT FACETS TO CONSIDER IN HAWAIIAN MYTHS & LEGENDS Cultural Elements Culture of family Social protocol Oli (chants) Social order Medicine Arts and crafts
COMMON MOTIFS IN HAWAIIAN MYTHOLOGY Hōʻailona Omens or predictions within a story A prophecy of what is to come Names of characters or place names often provide insight into the characters’ attributes, personality and/or the plot of the story. ie: Wailuku is the name of a river in Hilo. Wailuku literally means “destructive water,” so it gives you an idea of the kind of river it is
COMMON MOTIFS IN HAWAIIAN MYTHOLOGY Sole Survivor The remaining survivor who is left behind to tell the story or report what happened to others Recognition Token Magical things of power belonging to certain people Special items given by a chief to a mistress The items are often given with the instructions that any child born of the affair is to present them to the chief to gain recognition that he is his child Typical items include things that are worn, such as malo, lei, capes, etc.
COMMON MOTIFS IN HAWAIIAN MYTHOLOGY Birth/Death/Rebirth Mo`okū`auhau, or genealogy, is very important to the Hawaiian people. Most myths & legends begin with some form of genealogy In mythology, births may be supernatural Rebirth - To experience another existence such as the changing from one life form to another Reincarnation (animal, live being) Transformation (stones, cliff heads)