Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Huaka'i pō


In Hawaiian legend, Nightmarchers (huaka'i pō or "Spirit Ranks," 'oi'o) are the ghosts of ancient Hawaiian warriors. On the nights of Kane, Ku, Lono, Akua, or on the nights of Kaloa they are said to come forth from their burial sites to march out to past battles or to other sacred places. They march at sunset and just before the sun rises. Anyone living near their path may hear chanting and marching, and must go inside to avoid notice. They might appear during the day if coming to escort a dying relative to the spirit world. Anyone looking upon or seen by the marchers will die unless a relative is within the marcher's ranks- some people maintain that if you lie face down on the ground they will not see you. Others say that this only works if you are naked. However, if you have time to get out of the way it is best to do that. Still others say that you should be naked, lie face up and feign sleep. Placing leaves of the ti (Cordyline sp.) around one's home is said to keep away all evil spirits, and will cause the huaka'i pō to avoid the area. There is one story of a young boy being protected by a mysterious playmate. That mysterious playmate turned out to be the spirit of a dead man, whose bones were in the room of the child. The source of that story is found in Glen Grant's Chicken Skin Tales 49 Favorite Ghost Stories from Hawai`i. The book is written by Glen Grant. Copyright 1998 by Mutual Publishing.

A march greatly depends on who is in it. Say, in his life, a chief was fond of sound. The march would have much drumming an chanting. If the chief enjoyed the opposite, the march would have no noise except for the snapping of branches and other sounds that may accompany them. If a chief did not like to walk around much, he would be carried in a sling. In old Hawaii, laws declared parts of a chief to be sacred, and not seen. The punishment for looking at these parts was death. If a chief's face was not supposed to be seen, he would lead. If his back was not to be looked upon, he would be in the back. However, for some chiefs, there was no part of them that was forbidden to look at. This chief would march among the other warriors in the group. There are gods in some marches. The torches are a lot brighter than the torches in other marches. The biggest torches are carried at the front, back, and still three within the rest of the group. Five was a special number for Hawaiians. In the march of gods, there are six gods in a row, three male and the others female. A very important god is in the march, and she is called Hi`iaka-i-ka-poli-o-Pele. The marches are indeed very different

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