Mahalo For Removing Your Shoes

When you think of caring for the land – being environmentally friendly, in politically correct terms – you don’t think of taking off your shoes before going into a friend’s house… do you?

Nope – we didn’t think so. You might be surprised to learn that in Hawaii, even little things like removing your shoes can be traced back to the ancient Hawaiian idea of Malama ‘Aina – to care for the land. That’s why the next section we will be adding to the Best of Hawaii Real Estate website is all about Malama ‘Aina and its cultural importance in Hawaii.

Here are three examples of Malama ‘Aina in action, introducing you to its relevance to everyday life in the islands:

1. Mahalo For Removing Your Shoes. If you’ve ever been to a Hawaiian home, you’ve more than likely encountered a huge pile of shoes outside the front door. We’ve already explained that this is a tradition of respect in the islands, but Malama ‘Aina is about respecting the land! How does this fit in?Ancient Hawaiians thought of human life as an extension of the land – a gift sustained only by the natural bounty of the islands themselves. These ancient peoples lived a life much closer to the land, so it’s easy to see how this belief formed. When you enter a home barefoot, you’re respecting your host, and in turn, the land itself.

2. I can’t drive 55. So you’re spending the day exploring the back inland roads on Kauai, and you encounter a one-lane bridge and signs require both directions of traffic to yield to the other. As you approach the bridge, you see that another car is also about to enter the only lane coming from the other direction. What would a local do?The gracious act of stopping and waving a stranger through a one-lane bridge respects the life on the other side of that bridge, and is an example of living Malama ‘Aina. With so many one-lane bridges in Hawaii, this is an act you’ll want to follow!

3. Clean-up has never been so fun. How do Hawaii’s beaches stay so clean and sparkly? No, there’s no secret task force that combs the sands for trash while nobody is looking. Beach cleanups are a popular activity among many Hawaii residents – children on field trips, local environmental groups, ocean sport enthusiasts and even the group of post-party-goers just breaking down their beach campsite.Spending your day cleaning takes on a new meaning when it’s on a pristine Hawaii beach. Beach cleanups often pop up at random locations and times, and for any old reason – a testament to just how precious these natural resources are to Hawaii and its people.

Malama ‘Aina is the Hawaiian concept of respect that forms the basis of these traditions. Respecting the land and its people – your neighbors – is as much a part of Hawaiian culture as the Hula and the Lu`au.

Head over to the Best of Hawaii Real Estate site and check out this and more helpful tips for new and potential Hawaii residents.


One Response to “Mahalo For Removing Your Shoes”

  • I think you write this blog from a different point of view on the topic, which is rather unique from most other blogs. I welcome your hard work on it.

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