I used to think that "aloha" was merely the Hawaiian way of saying "hello" or "goodbye." Then I came to live in Hawaii and learned the power and deeper meaning of Aloha.
Aloha's very essence is the "breath," which is sacred to Ancient Hawaiians, who believed that there is the Divine in every person. White men who found their way to the Hawaiian islands saw natives greeting each other Aloha not with a handshake or a wave but with an exchange of spirit or what Hawaiians call "mana." They touched foreheads and noses and took in each other's breath. For them the gesture was a way of paying respect to the mortal and the divine in each other.
A law in Hawaii says this about Aloha:
[§5-7.5] "Aloha Spirit." (a) "Aloha Spirit" is the coordination of mind and heart within each person. It brings each person to the self. Each person must think and emote good feelings to others. In the contemplation and presence of the life force, "Aloha," the following unuhi laula loa may be used:
"Akahai," meaning kindness, to be expressed with tenderness;
"Lokahi," meaning unity, to be expressed with harmony;
"Oluolu," meaning agreeable, to be expressed with pleasantness;
"Haahaa," meaning humility, to be expressed with modesty;
"Ahonui," meaning patience, to be expressed with perseverance.
These are traits of character that express the charm, warmth and sincerity of Hawaii's people. It was the working philosophy of Native Hawaiians and was presented as a gift to the people of Hawaii.
"Aloha" is more than a word of greeting or farewell or a salutation.
"Aloha" means mutual regard and affection and extends warmth in caring with no obligation in return.
"Aloha" is the essence of relationships in which each person is important to every other person for collective existence.
"Aloha" means to hear what is not said, to see what cannot be seen and to know the unknowable.
Links to the meaning of Aloha:
As my forehead and my nose touch yours, I exchange my Breath of Life with yours and I say...
- Ariel Murphy