Friday, August 14, 2009


1. ink sac in octopus or squid.
2. scar of a scrofulous sore;
to be so scarred.
3. aerial tubers of bitter yam.

Most of us know that the ʻalaʻala is the ink sac of the heʻe (well those of us who eat or make raw squid) used when making raw squid (MY FAVORITE!). But there is another translation of ʻalaʻala and that is of a sore, thought to perhaps refer to tuberculosis. My main reason for having this as today's word is to share a small lesson in culture, through the following ʻōlelo noʻeau:

Mai hāʻawi wale i ka lei o ka ʻāʻī o ʻalaʻala. - do not give a lei too freely lest a scrofulous sore appear on the neck.

Sometimes when we have a lei we give it away to whomever we wish. Well, in days gone by (and today, too, by those who have maintained this practice) one never gave a lei he/she wore, away freely. Usually a "worn lei", if given away, was given to someone closely related. And the reason for this was that once you have worn a lei, your mana and your essence transcends into the lei. It becomes a part of you. You have to be careful with your personal belongings, which holds your mana, because you wouldn't want it to fall into the hands of a sorcerer, such as a kahuna ʻanāʻanā, who could use something of yours to cause you harm.

Mai ʻalaʻala paha auaneʻi i ka ua o Waʻahila -almost received a scar on the neck, perhaps, from the Wa'ahila rain. (he just escaped trouble)

No comments:

Post a Comment