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Hawaiian History and Culture


The Hawaiian Chant of Creation

This is the begining of the two thousand line creation chant called 
Kumulipo. The Kumulipo is the sacred creation chant of a family of 
Hawaiian ali'i, or ruling chiefs. When Captain James Cook first landed 
at Kealakekua, Hawaii he was greeted with food, water, and at a ceremony 
this chant was recited by two Hawaiian kahuna. In later years Queen 
Liliuokalani identified this chant as a cosmogonic and genealogical 
prayer, the Kumulipo. This prayer chant, which belonged to her family, 
traced the family's divine origin by genealogical pairs through great 
rulers, heroes, and primary gods back to the first spark of life in the 


O ke au i kahuli wela ka honua
O ke au i kahuli lole ka lani
O ke au i kuka'iaka ka la
E ho'omalamalama i ka la
O ke au i Makali'i ka po
O ka Walewale ho'okumu honua ia 
O ke kumu o ka lipo
O ke kumu o ka Po i po ai
O ka Lipolipo, o ka lipolipo
O ka lipo o ka La, o ka lipo o ka Po
Po wale ho-i 

At the time that turned the heat of the earth 
At the time that the heavens turned and changed 
At the time that the light of the sun was subdued 
To cause light to break forth 
At the time of the night of Makali'i 

Then began the slime which established the earth 
The source of deepest darkness 
Of the depths of darkness, of the depths of darkness 
Of the darkness of the sun, in the depth of night, It is night

So night is born.

More on the Kumulipo can be found in Honua Books. "The Kumulipo: A
Hawaiian Creation Chant" by Martha Beckwith is an excellant source and a 
must read if you are trying to unravel the mysteries of creation from 
the Hawaiian point of view. 

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