I was happy to discover a resource webpage created by Kamehameha Schools compiling the relevant texts and resources about the practice of naming in Hawaiian culture. The two primary resources are standards in Hawaiian culture that I last read in college as a Hawaiian Studies major, Nānā i Ke Kumu Vol. 1 (Pūkuʻi, 1972) and The Polynesian Family System in Kaʻū, Hawaiʻi (Pūkuʻi, 1989). For those of you unfamiliar with naming in the Hawaiian culture, the page offers insight to the importance of names.
My parents had intended that the meaning of my name was “calm or open ocean”, which broken up, would be Kai (ocean) and Noa (free of kapu/taboo), but the literal translation of my name means “the name”, Ka (the) and Inoa (name). When I was younger, I didn’t give my name a second thought. It seemed too obvious to be special. It was also a name not many girls had. The older I got, however, the more I began to realize exactly how special it was.
One gives life to a name. Children are sometimes named after ancestors, not just to document the lineage made obvious with suffices like Jr. or the III, but also because of the qualities they would like to see in the next generation. Children may be named after a kind-hearted aunt or determined cousin. The connection to the ancients then continues, but more importantly, that ancestor is both honored and reborn.
I often wonder if my descendants, or those of someone in my circle of friends and family, will one day bear my name.
And what of your name?
Weekly Writing Challenge: Power of Names | http://dailypost.wordpress.com/2014/03/17/writing-challenge-names/