What Is The Real Meaning Of Kahuna?

Have you heard the word "Kahuna" or "Big Kahuna"?

Do you know what the term Kahuna really means?

There is quite a bit of misunderstanding about Hawaiian kahunas, so this post will help you better understand where the term came from and what it means.

According on Lorrin Andrews, author of the first Hawaiian thesaurus published in 1865, "kahuna" is a contraction of "kahu" (to prepare, specifically in an earth stove) and also "ana" (a term that brings in "ing" to a word). So the base definition by this concept is "a cooking." This does not make a lot of sense until you discover that "kahu" likewise means "to often tend an oven, or to deal with the food preparation." So "kahu," originally referring to looking after an oven, ended up being a basic word for looking after anything. One more feasible origin for words "kahuna," however, is that it is simply a combo of "kahu" (to deal with) and "na" (a fragment that makes words right into nouns). In that case, a translation of "kahuna" would certainly be "a care taker".


Andrews specifies a "kahuna" as "a basic name applied to such persons as having a trade, a fine art, or which exercise some profession." He claims that some qualifying term is typically brought in, such as "kahuna lapa'au, a doctor; kahuna pule, a priest; kahuna kalai la'au, a carpenter; kahuna kala, a jeweler." He likewise keeps in mind that "the word kahuna generally describes the clergyman or the individual that offers sacrifices." Pukui and also Elbert, writers of the modern standard Hawaiian dictionary, define a kahuna as a "priest, sorcerer, magician, wizard, priest, expert in any profession (whether man of female)." They add that under the 1845 laws of the Hawaiian kingdom medical professionals, specialists and also dentists were called kahuna.


They were the experts of old Hawaii, specialists in religion, wellness, crafts, science, psychology as well as magic. "Kahuna" was a title, like M.D. or Ph.D., and additional detailed words were utilized to designate the area of expertise. Just as the contemporary usage of words "physician" by itself is usually deduced a medical doctor, so the use of "kahuna" by itself typically designated a priest or therapist.

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They undertook extensive and considerable training just before being identified as specialists in their area, either by their educator or by the community. Some kahunas were experts in numerous fields. Kahunas could be male or women. Although it is not explicitly mentioned above, it is clear from checking out the above sources that kahunas of any sort of kind were constantly attuned to the spiritual side of their knowledge along with to the material side.

In more modern times, when Hawaii came to be a vacationer destination, site visitors uncovered that the most effective surfer on the beach was called "kahuna nui he'e nalu," the "principal master surfer." Due to his know-how he was additionally the leader among the surfers, and they would certainly follow his advice about the boards, the waves and also the skill itself. He was called "kahuna nui" for brief, and this soon became the phrase "big kahuna," which took on the meaning of "big boss" or perhaps "the biggest and also the most effective" in any sort of area, even food.

Today the word "kahuna" is made use of and misused in many ways. Some individuals with no conventional Hawaiian knowledge or training say to have actually been "started" as kahunas, something which Hawaiians of old would certainly have made fun of or been shocked by. Some Hawaiians fear the word since they immediately relate it to sorcery, and some Hawaiians claim that no person can be a kahuna which isn't really Hawaiian. Visitors coming to Hawaii seeking a "kahuna," which for some indicates a psychic therapist and also for others suggests a shaman.

Just how do you understand if an individual is truly a kahuna? There are no set rules or regulations, and there never ever have actually been. A deep understanding as well as understanding of Hawaiian culture would certainly appear to be a should if words is to have any kind of significance in a Hawaiian context. The teacher is the one that gives the title, so having the ability to name the educator would appear to be an aspect, as well.

So, exactly what is a kahuna? Just a title that means just what you believe it does. If you satisfy a kahuna, regard the person wherefore they can do, more than for just the title.

2 Responses

  1. Thank you; tikitreatsdc!

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