<!-- Note to editors: Please use the ʻokina and kahakō in Hawaiian name spellings. For ʻokina, use template.-->A Hawaiian name
is a name
in the Hawaiian language
. Such names are popular not only in Hawaiian families, but also among other residents of Hawaii
, and even in the United States
mainland among both non-native and native Hawaiians
Meanings of names
Genuine Hawaiian names are unisex. Their literal meaning is usually quite clear, but there may be hidden symbolic meanings known only to the family. Old Hawaiians saw a name as the property of the name-holder, with a power to help or hurt its owner. A meaning that was too apparent might have attracted evil forces. And, just like in Hawaiian poetry, an allusion was considered more beautiful than a plain statement.
Coolness and rain symbolize happiness in a warm climate. Mist is a symbol of romance. Lei means a child, because a beloved child is carried like a lei
on the parent's shoulders. A child can also be a flower or a bud, regardless of its sex. Modern parents tend to be more prosaic, calling a child a child, as in Keikilani and Kamalani, in which keiki
both mean "child".
Traditional naming practices
Old Hawaiians coined a new name for each child, with careful thought of its meaning. Names might be revealed in dreams or visions. Children could be named after relatives, but names... Read More