Hawaiian Kingdom National Memorial Day Observance

Nahi'ena'ena died on 30 December 1836. Her brother, Kauikeaouli (Kamehameha III) was devastated at her passing that he declared that day as a national Memorial Day. It was a day set aside to reflect and honor those who left the physical world and entered the realm of the spirit world.

On occasion, our family would hold a candlelight ceremony, opening with a pule (prayer); reciting the names of each family member that made that journey followed by a gong or bell; and concluded with a hymeni or song of choice. Sometimes there was a reflection of that person, what they were like, and anecdotes showing their personality.

It can be a short ceremony or a potluck drawn out with songs, music and games. At times we viewed a video or photographs of those loved ones and laugh about who today had similar features or characteristics of that person. We shared stories so the mo'opuna that didn't know them could see them as a living person rather than just a name on the genealogy chart.

One can be as creative as one wants at this gathering. It would be great to start a family tradition and an opportunity to update the genealogy of the family. One year can be of the family ancestors; alternated with the following year about historical and notable figures who made a difference or influence in our lives or history.

This year would be a good time to initiate the observance of our Kingdom's national Memorial Day on the 30th of December and reflect on the loved ones no longer here on earth. It's also a good time to prepare for New Years. My niece had a good idea of making kulolo for new years; using family recipes or other ones we know of. That would be fun and kill two birds with one stone (no pun intended).

Have a blessed Memorial Day and a brighter New Year.


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Comment by Tane on December 29, 2009 at 8:22am
Aloha Kaohi:
I will keep their lives in my thoughts as well on December 30th. Their names wil be remembered among all the families who have departed.

Much love to you, too.

Comment by Kaohi on December 28, 2009 at 9:49am
thanks Tane,

I had to call my mom on Dec 30 to let her know that her son Marshall died on her birthday. It was a sad day, but you are right we must remeber our love ones and teach our younger family members about the beauty of one's passing as well as life here on earth.

My brother's name is on the bolder at Kaiona Beach Park. Much love Kaohi

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