The meaning of aloha is much deeper than a greeting. Although aloha means hello, goodbye, and love; essentially it’s a way of life. Aloha spirit is exuded throughout the Hawaiian Islands. Aloha spirit is a guideline to act rightfully. Visitors often express that they can feel aloha as soon as they arrive in Hawai`i. Literally translated, aloha is “the presence of breath,” or “the breath of life.” “Alo” means presence, and “ha” means breath.
Haumana (students) are taught about aloha from a young age at their halau (hula school.) It is a hula dancer’s kuleana (responsibility) to understand the meaning of aloha in order to share it with others. When a hula dancer presents you with a lei (flowers/shells strung together to be worn,) he/she is sharing a symbol of affection, and is genuinely welcoming you with open arms.
In ancient Hawai`i, kahuna (priests) embedded the spirit of aloha in the Hawaiian people. It was said that self-perfection could be reached by fully living by the spirit of aloha. The Hawaiians lived in harmony within their ahupua`a (land division,) each perfecting their skills and sharing everything with one another.
Interestingly enough, not only has the aloha spirit been kept alive and well in Hawai`i, but it is also a law. That’s right! Aloha spirit is an official law in the state of Hawai`i. The official Aloha Spirit Law can be found in section 5-7.5. The law states: “All citizens and government officials of Hawaii are obligated by law to conduct themselves in accordance with this law, while performing their duties and obligations, as well as in their day-to-day living. Likewise, those visiting our fair islands are expected to conduct themselves in accordance with this Hawaiian law.”
Now that you’re familiar with the spirit of aloha it’s time to book your plane ticket and experience the spirit of aloha first hand.