When planning your wedding in Hawaii, couples often are looking to intertwine traditions of local culture. Most will choose to exchange lei where you can learn more here. Then there is the Honi. In short, honi, means to kiss. The gravity of the honi in the Hawaiian culture is often unknown to visitors, which, in my opinion is a shame. It’s a beautiful act of love and respect between two people. During this “kiss”, two people touch foreheads, with noses touching and then inhaling as the same time. This act represents two very distinct ideas, very present in the local culture. It is the exchanging of ha – the breath of life, as well as mana -the spiritual power that resides in each of us.
I love the Honi for all that is symbolizes, exchanging breath and and spirituality. It’s a beautiful moment to capture and one I would highly consider the Honi for your Hawaiian wedding ceremony.
“The honi is a Polynesian greeting in which two people greet each other by pressing noses and inhaling at the same time. This is a very honorific as this represents the exchange of ha–the breath of life, and mana–spiritual power between two people. This act and the concepts behind it are very unusual to western audiences and care should be taken to explain the spirituality and sacredness of this simple act of greeting.”
Renee Bishaw, Hawaiian Greeting/Protocol
“The ancient custom of honi when meeting another included touching foreheads together, inhaling, kissing the other on the cheek or lips, hugging and then exhaling. It is said that this custom enabled the ancients to detect who visited their homes hours after they left by the distinctive body odor of that person. We’ve also read that the kiss used to be on the lips but changed to the cheek or eliminated when the tuberculosis epidemic hit Hawai`i. ”
Source: Hawaiian Etiquette by Wai`anae students
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