Hawaiian Canoe Blessing Ceremony

If you can't make to the Islands anytime soon He'e Nalu Outrigger Canoe Club has arranged to bring a piece the Islands to you. So come on down to 101 Surf Sports this Sunday March 3rd and bring your Outrigger Canoe, Kayak, Stand Up Paddleboard, or other personal watercraft to receive a a real Island style Hawaiian blessing.

101 Surf Sports and He'e Nalu Outrigger Canoe Club are hosting a Pot Luck complete with Hawaiian Chantress and live Ukulele. First up a little back story on the blessing.

The Hawaiian culture is rich with ancient ceremony and tradition. Many of the protocols and rituals of a time long past are still respected and practiced today. Up until little more than a hundred years ago, at the center of the Hawaiian culture was the outrigger canoe or wa'a. The wa'a provided access to food, news from distance lands, defense, and recreation. Put another way, the Hawaiian people would likely have not come to existence and certainly would have perished without them. A well built wa'a was held in high regard since it had the responsibility of returning men, women, and children home safely from ke kai (the sea). The wa'a was so important to the Hawaiian people that each wa'a was considered part of their 'ohana and was treated as such. Just as important was the inoa (name) given the wa'a. The same consideration you would give to naming a child was given to naming a wa'a..

Although the Hawaiian canoe is no longer essential for the survival of a people, the many Hawaiian values, rituals, and traditions surrounding the outrigger canoe are still practiced today. One of those traditions is the wa'a ho'omaika'i (canoe blessing).

Ho'ola'a wa'a (Canoe Blessing Ceremony). In a time now long past, the majority of nā wa'a kino (canoe hulls) were fabricated from Koa trees and their ama (outrigger) were fabricated from the wiliwili-pua and the nā 'iako (booms) were fabricated from the hau tree (sea hibiscus). These pieces were all lashed together using aha (Sennet made from coconut fiber) that was braided into flat cord. The Hawaiian people believed that everything had mana (a living spirit or super natural energy). The Hawaiian ancestors taught that when a koa tree had fallen and died, it took on another life, a continued spirit called lā'au mana. Therefore, when we bless a canoe we start by asking the koa tree from which the wa'a was carved - for forgiveness in taking the trees life. We also thank the forest from which the tree came from for allowing us to give its child a new life as a wa'a. This wa'a is a gift from Aku (God) so we bless it. We also bless the wa'a to celebrates its birth. From this point on, we consider it the seventh voyager of a six kanaka canoe. We thank Aku (God), nā aumakua (the ancestors), Lono, the demigod of fertility which allowed the tree to grow, and Kanaloa the demigod of ke kai (the sea) for allowing us to paddle our wa'a on his skin.

This March 3rd starting at 10am the club will bless our Outrigger Canoes and invite you to receive a blessing as well. That's the spirit of Ohana that both He'e Nalu and 101 Surf Sports want to extend to the community.  The event is a pot luck so bring your favorite dish along with your personal water craft to receive a blessing. Live Hawaiian music will be flowing through the air right alongside the spirit of Aloha.

He'e Nalu Outrigger Canoe Blessing