In ancient Hawaii, there were many gods and goddesses. The Hawaiian people of old didn’t just worship their gods and goddesses (known as ‘akua in the Hawaiian language), they actively interacted with ‘akua and saw them in the forces of the Earth around them. Their religious practices were built on how they personally interacted with the ‘akua around them. There was no need of faith because who could question the existence of Kanaloa (the Hawaiian God, represented by the Ocean) when the ocean was so obviously present and real?
There were multitudes of ‘akua and they all deserved worship. And yet, ‘akua were very much like the Hawaiians themselves. They fought and loved, planted and fished, succeeded and failed in their desires. The main difference between ‘akua and humans was that ‘akua contained more mana - the energy force that exists in all things and which could quite simply be called power.
Each Hawaiian family tree stretches back to the dawn of time when each line was founded by an ‘akua or in some cases, by many ‘akua. Most lineages stretch back to Waikea, the sky god and his first wife Papa, the goddess of the Earth. Yet, these were not the most worshipped or revered of the ancient ‘akua.
The most widely worshipped and revered of the ancient gods were Ku, Kane, Lono, and Kanaloa.
Ku was the god of war - but he was much more. He was the god of fishing, forests, rain, canoes, and dark magic. He is also represented by the breadfruit tree, the coconut, hawks, and the ki leaf. Red was the color most associated with him.
Kane, on the other hand was the god of sunlight, fresh water, winds, and fertility. He was the child of Waikea and Papa. He was worshipped as lightning, rainbows, whirlwinds and many more natural forces. He was represented by owls, sugarcane, and coral and yellow is the color most associated with him. His best friend was Kanaloa.
Kanaloa is the least known of the four major gods. He is associated with the ocean, bananas, fish and fish ponds, and octopus. Kanaloa is the god most often associated with surf, sailing, and the underworld. This association, later caused Christians to associate Kanaloa with Satan - which was a mistake as Kanaloa was known to be gentle. Blue is the color most often associated with Kanaloa.
Lono was the god of peace, healing, agriculture, sports, and breeding. Hawaiians would see Lono in the clouds, rain, gushing springs, and most of the food that was grown. He was also closely associated with pigs and often took the form of a man-pig called Kamapua’a. The four month festival of makahiki was held in his honor. During this time of harvest, war was forbidden and Hawaiians engaged in games and celebration. Green is the color of Lono.
While there were many goddesses (and other gods) - most of them did not have the same level of esteem that the four majors did - one exception, of course, is the Goddess Pele - for who can deny her?