Holding Hands

Hawaiian Thought of the Week May 20, 2014

Hawaiian Thought of the Week May 20, 2014


A chewed mass; food masticated by an elder and conveyed to the mouth of a small child.

The kaona (deeper meaning) of māna articulates that the chewed mass of food fed by mouth from adult to a small child is synonymous with knowledge that is passed from one generation to the next.

Our elders would never teach anything in its entirety or all at once, lest we be overwhelmed and not be able to handle such a vast amount of information. We would either give up altogether or create havoc with a limited understanding of so much powerful knowledge. They would instead provide this form of māna with a piecemeal approach, sharing just enough for us to practice and work with what we were just given until we understand enough to the point in which we would be ready to receive a little bit more.