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HawaiiInformation about the Hawaii
Because of its unique location, history, and ethnically diverse population, Hawai‘i residents observe a variety of different customs from the various ethnic groups that make up the Islands' population. Most of these customs come from its large percentage of people of Asian ancestry. Nevertheless, these customs are widely observed by the people in Hawai‘i, regardless of individual ethnicity. What is considered proper etiquette there is often different from that observed on U.S. mainland. People who move to Hawai‘i from elsewhere sometimes run into difficulties when dealing with local people due to cultural differences.
Below is a partial list of general and ethnically specific customs and etiquette that are widely observed in the Islands.
Ancient Hawai‘i refers to the period of Hawaiian history preceding the unification of the Kingdom of Hawai‘i by Kamehameha the Great in 1810.
To understand Hawaiian native history and culture, one must understand the greater Polynesian phenomenon. Hawai‘i is the apex of the Polynesian Triangle, a region of the Pacific Ocean anchored by three island groups: Hawai‘i, Rapa Nui (Easter Island) and Aotearoa (New Zealand). The many island cultures within the Polynesian Triangle share a similar proto-Malayo-Polynesian language used in Southeast Asia 5000 years ago. Polynesians also share identical cultural traditions, arts, religion, sciences. Anthropologists believe that all Polynesians are related to a single proto-culture established in the South Pacific by migrant Malayo people.
The eight main Polynesian cultures are from:
Polynesian seafarers were skilled ocean navigators and astronomers. At a time when Western boats rarely went out of sight of land, they often traveled long distances on fleets of carefully crafted canoes that could withstand the harsh Pacific weather.
It is believed that the first Polynesians arrived in Hawai‘i in the 7th century from Tahiti and the Marquesas. (Some experts place their arrival as early as 500 or even 400 AD.) They brought along with them clothing, plants and livestock and established settlements along the coasts and larger valleys. They grew kalo (taro), mai‘a (banana), niu (coconut), ulu (breadfruit) as soon as they arrived, and built hale (homes) and heiau (temples).
A traditional village of ancient Hawai‘i included several structures. Listed in order of importance:
Ancient Hawai‘i was a caste society. People were born into specific social classes and did not have the ability to move into another, except in the case of falling into outcast status. Each class had assigned duties and responsibilities to the greater society. The classes in order of social status were:
Religion held ancient Hawaiian society together, affecting habits, lifestyles, work methods, social policy and law. The legal system was based on religious kapu, or taboos. There was a correct way to live, to worship, to eat, even to have sex. Examples of kapu included the provision that men and women could not eat together. Fishing was limited to specified seasons of the year. The shadow of the ali‘i must not be touched as it was stealing his mana. Violating kapu even by accident was punishable by death.
Kapu was derived from traditions and beliefs from Hawaiian worship of gods, demigods and ancestral mana. The forces of nature were personified as the main gods of Ku (God of War), Kane (God of Light and Life), Lono (God of Harvest and Rebirth). Famous lesser gods include Pele (Goddess of Fire) and her sister Hi‘iaka (Goddess of Water). In a famous creation story, the demigod Maui fished the islands of Hawai‘i from the sea after a little mistake he made on a fishing trip. From Haleakala, Maui ensnared the sun in another story, forcing him to slow down so there was equal periods of darkness and light each day.
Ancient Hawaiian economy became complex over time. People began to specialize in specific skills. Generations of families became committed to certain careers: roof thatchers, house builders, stone grinders, bird catchers who would make the feather cloaks of the ali‘i, canoe builders. Soon, entire islands began to specialize in certain skilled trades. Oahu became the chief kapa (tapa bark cloth) manufacturer. Maui became the chief canoe manufacturer. The island of Hawai‘i exchanged bales of dried fish.
Discovery of the Hawaiian islands marked the official end of the ancient Hawai'i period and beginning of Hawai‘i's modern era. In 1778, British Captain James Cook landed on Kaua‘i and explored the other islands in time. When he first arrived, the natives believed Cook was their god Lono. Cook's mast and sails coincidentally formed the cross that symbolized Lono in their religious rituals. Lono was God of Light which explained Cook's white skin. Captain Cook was eventually killed during a violent confrontation between natives and Cook's sailors. The sailors accused the natives of stealing a boat. Cook's body was ceremonially cremated and his bones buried in a sacred place. The natives still believed Cook was a deity and his bones had great mana.
Kingdom of Hawai‘i
The Kingdom of Hawai‘i was established in 1810 upon the unification of the smaller independent chiefdoms of O‘ahu, Maui, Moloka‘i, Lana‘i and the Big Island of Hawai‘i through swift and bloody battles, led by a warrior chief who later would be immortalized as Kamehameha the Great. Kamehameha failed to secure a victory in Kaua‘i, his effort hampered by a storm. Eventually, Kaua‘i's chief swore allegiance to Kamehameha's rule. The unification ended the feudal society of the Hawaiian islands transforming it into a "modern", independent constitutional monarchy crafted in the tradition of European empires.
‘Iolani Palace, one of many royal palaces in Hawai‘i, was built by Kalakaua who shared Kamehameha V's vision of constructing a palace to rival the residences of European monarchsGovernment in the Kingdom of Hawai‘i was transformed in phases, each phase created by the promulgation of the constitutions of 1840, 1852, 1864 and 1887. Each successive constitution can be seen as a decline in the power of the monarch in favor of popularly elected representative government. The head of state and head of government in the Kingdom of Hawai‘i was the monarch. He or she oversaw the Privy Council which was charged with administration. A royal cabinet, the Privy Council consisted of ministers in charge of departments much like that of the American system. These ministers also acted as the monarch's primary advisors.
The 1840 Constitution created a bicameral parliament in charge of legislation. The two houses of the legislature were the House of Representatives (directly elected by popular vote) and the House of Nobles (appointed by the monarch with the advice of the Cabinet). The same constitution created a judiciary, charged with overseeing the courts and interpretation of laws. The Supreme Court was led by the Chief Justice, appointed by the monarch with the advice of the Cabinet.
The islands of Hawai‘i were divided into smaller administrative divisions: Kaua‘i, O‘ahu, Maui, and Hawai‘i. Kaua‘i region included Ni‘ihau, while Maui region included Kaho‘olawe, Lana‘i and Moloka‘i. Each administrative region was governed by a governor appointed by the monarch.
From 1810 to 1893, the Kingdom of Hawai‘i would be ruled by two major dynastic families, the Kamehameha Dynasty and the Kalakaua Dynasty. Five members of the Kamehameha family would lead the government as its king. Two of them were direct sons of Kamehameha the Great himself. They were Liholiho (Kamehameha II) and Kauikeaouli (Kamehameha III). For a period between Liholiho and Kauikeaouli's reigns, Kamehameha the Great's primary wife, Queen Ka‘ahumanu, would rule as Queen Regent and Kuhina Nui, or Prime Minister.
Dynastic rule by the Kamehameha family tragically ended in 1872 with the death of Lot (Kamehameha V). Upon his deathbed, he summoned Princess Bernice Pauahi Bishop to declare his intentions of making her heir to the throne. She was the last direct Kamehameha family member surviving. She refused the crown and throne in favor of a private life with her husband, Charles Reed Bishop. Lot died before naming an alternative heir.
The refusal of Princess Bernice Pauahi Bishop to take the crown and throne as Queen of Hawai‘i forced the legislature of the Kingdom to declare an election to fill the royal vacancy. From 1872 to 1873, several distant relatives of the Kamehameha line were nominated. In a popular vote, William C. Lunalilo became Hawai‘i's first of two elected monarchs.
Like his predecessor, Lunalilo failed to name an heir to the throne. He died unexpectedly after less than a year as King of Hawai‘i. Once again, the legislature of the Kingdom of Hawai‘i was forced to declare an election to fill the royal vacancy. Queen Emma, widow of Kamehameha IV, was nominated along with David Kalakaua. The 1874 election was opined to be one of the nastiest political campaign seasons ever in Hawai‘i history. Both candidates resorted to mudslinging and rumors. David Kalakaua was elected the second elected King of Hawai‘i.
Hoping to avoid uncertainty in the monarchy's future, Kalakaua proclaimed several heirs to the throne and defined a royal line of succession. His sister Lili‘uokalani would succeed the throne upon Kalakaua's death. It was indicated that Princess Victoria Ka‘iulani would follow. If she could not produce an heir by birth, Prince Jonah Kuhio Kalaniana‘ole would rule after her.
United States Marines aboard the USS Boston land in Honolulu in 1893 to forcibly remove Queen Lili‘uokalani from her position as head of state and government of Hawai‘i. On November 23, 1993, President Bill Clinton signed United States Public Law 103-150 apologizing for the illegal action.Queen Lili‘uokalani inherited a monarchy that was left impotent by her brother's Bayonet Constitution of 1887. David Kalakaua's Royal Cabinet forced him at gunpoint to sign the constitution stripping the monarchy of much of its power in favor of an administration controlled by Hawaiian citizens of Europeans descent. Some claims this constitution was the opening salvo to the end of the Kingdom of Hawai‘i.
In 1893, American businessmen seeking to protect their industrial profits in the exportation of goods like sugar to the United States of America organized the overthrow of the Kingdom of Hawai‘i. American troops aboard the USS Boston landed in Honolulu to help Sanford B. Dole and Lorrin A. Thurston's Committee of Safety, a 13 member council of businessmen plotting to depose Queen Lili‘uokalani. At the gunpoint of American soldiers, Queen Lili‘uokalani was removed from ‘Iolani Palace under arrest, tried by the American Judge Advocate General's Corps and then imprisoned in her own home.
Dole and his committee declared itself the provisional government and in 1894 proclaimed the creation of the Republic of Hawai‘i. Dole became its president. As a republic, it was the intention of the provisional government to campaign for annexation with the United States of America. With annexation, their goods and services exported to the mainland would not be subject to American tariffs. The provisional government succeeded when in 1898, Congress approved a joint resolution of annexation creating the U.S. Territory of Hawai‘i. This followed the precendence of Texas which was also annexed by a joint resolution of Congress. Dole was appointed its first governor.
In Hawaii, at least 30 varieties of kava were used for medicinal, religious, political, cultural and social purposes by all social classes, men and women. Kava is the original pau hana drink of working people to relax and ease achy muscles. Kava was also given to fussy babies and children to calm them and help them sleep.
The above includes excerpts from Wikipedia.org, the free encyclopedia:
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