Friday, July 30, 2010

The Birthplace of Kamehameha I

The most historically significant spots on the island was also on our itinerary while we were on the Big Island. We didn't dare take our rental van out to this area. You really need a good off-road vehicle to make it. The road is dirt and studded with holes and large rocks.

Luckily our host was able to take us in his truck or we wouldn't have been able to visit this area. Of course, the kids were thrilled that they got to ride in the back of a truck. It's illegal in most places now, so this was a highlight of the trip for them.

The area we went to was right on the coast. Many of the coasts on the Big Island are black and rocky with dry grass and shrubs growing here and there. It makes the ocean look even more blue to see it against the stark landscape.

We passed a "wind farm" on the way out.

Cool windmills dotted the landscape.

First, we stopped by the Mo'okini Heiau. A heiau is a sacred area. This particular one was built to honor the war god Kuka'ilimoku. Legend has it that thousands of men stood in a line and passed each of these stones hand to hand from an area 14 miles away. There is still a line of scattered stones which were dropped along the route.

Kuka'ilimoku was apparently a very bloodthirsty god who demanded human sacrifices be made to him and for some reason people accepted this idea instead of immediately sacrificing the person who was speaking for "Ku" (otherwise known as satan). Seems like the issue would have been resolved very quickly if the natives had sacrificed the person who said, "This is what Ku wants" and then said, "Well, that seems to be enough. No one else seems to be stepping up to speak for Lucifer, er, I mean Ku."

Tens of thousands of people were sacrificed and then shredded on these stones. The idea was very unsettling. I don't know if you are allowed to touch the stones, but I wouldn't dream of doing so.

Just down the road is what is thought to be the birthplace of Kamehameha I. It is now known as Kamehmeha Akahi Aina Hanau.

Written records were not kept during the early years of the life of Kemehameha the Great. Therefore many legends have been handed down about the birth of the ruler. Legends which involve a prophecy that a male child would be born who would be a king over all kings; the reigning king tried to have the baby killed by issuing a decree that all male infants would be killed; the baby was spirited away and raised in secrecy but was able to return after five years.

Sound like any other story you've ever heard?

Very interesting.

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