Ghosts Next Door

Ghosts Next Door
by Lopaka Kapanui

Jan 18, 2020

ASHES TO ASHES - What not to do in Hawaii

Once in a while, you will see a pile of ashes at a heiau, along a hiking trail and at other sacred and perhaps not so sacred sites throughout Hawaii.
Interestingly, a few have mistaken these piles of ashes as the remains of actual Hawaiian people. As silly as that may seem here, there are those who believe it.

However, Hawaiians never left their loved ones' ashes out for all to see. There were burial rituals to ensure that the remains of a family member were cared for respectfully. The common practice was to bury the bones so as not to allow another person to take the mana of their loved ones. To leave the bones out for all to see was the ultimate sign of disrespect.

Primarily, what you are seeing in this photo are the leftovers of a person's incense offering. It is becoming much more common these days for other cultures to use incense to pray and pay their respects to their gods, and perhaps our Hawaiian deities as well in these sacred places. Please know that this is not an acceptable practice to do at heiau and other sacred sites in Hawaii. To leave burning incense at a heiau is not only inappropriate, changing anything about such a sacred place damages the integrity of the site. And to leave a pile of incense burning on a hiking trail is just irresponsible and dangerous as there are numerous accounts of incense being the cause of damaging fires.

As I often repeat, practice "Leave No Trace" principles when visiting the many historical sites of our islands and, if you feel compelled to offer something, the greatest gifts are your respect and Aloha.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks admin for share thia important information.I hope you will do better in future.