Day: June 20th, 2008

Cry sanctuary

Friday, June 20th, 2008 | All Things, Travel

Pu’uhonua o H┼Źnaunau National Historical Park in South Kona preserves the site where, until 1819 when King Liholiho (Kamehameha II) abolished the ancient system of laws against the gods known as kapu, Hawaiians who broke the law could avoid execution by fleeing to this place of refuge. Under the system of kapu (taboo), offenses punishable by death included treading on the shadow of an ali’i (chief), fishing outside the specified seasons, or eating with a member of the opposite sex.

Such crimes would be forgiven only if the transgressor could reach a sanctuary such as this, either on foot or by swimming through the shark-infested bay. If successful, the kahuna (priest) was required to absolve all wrong-doing. Interesting idea.

As no blood could be shed within the confines of the place of refuge, here, too, defeated warriors could find respite, and women, children, the infirm and the elderly could find a safe haven from the battles raging outside.

Carved ki’i statues, effigies of gods, tower over the bay. Reproductions, but still eerie.

The temple complex sits on a 20-acre palm-fringed lava bed bordered by the sea on three sides. The grounds include temple ruins, a fishpond and private canoe landing.

What better way to celebrate this milestone of mine than with a clean slate?

Full Pu’uhonua o H┼Źnaunau National Historical Park photo set on flickr.

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