'Ai Noa
The Ai Noa was a period of taboo-breaking which convulsed the Hawaiian Islands
Hawaiian Islands
The Hawaiian Islands are an archipelago of eight major islands, several atolls, numerous smaller islets, and undersea seamounts in the North Pacific Ocean, extending some 1,500 miles from the island of Hawaii in the south to northernmost Kure Atoll...

 in 1819. Women were allowed to eat forbidden food and to eat with men; the priests were no longer to offer human sacrifices; the many prohibitions surrounding the high chiefs were relaxed.

Kamehameha I
Kamehameha I
Kamehameha I , also known as Kamehameha the Great, conquered the Hawaiian Islands and formally established the Kingdom of Hawaii in 1810. By developing alliances with the major Pacific colonial powers, Kamehameha preserved Hawaii's independence under his rule...

, the conqueror of the islands, had just died; his son Liholiho succeeded him (and was later known as King Kamehameha II). He came to power amid scenes of grief and licence.

The usual strict rules of the Hawaiian religion
Hawaiian religion
Hawaiian religion is the term used to describe the folk religious beliefs and practises of the Hawaiian people. It is unrelated to, though commonly confused with, the philosophy of Huna....

 and social system, known as kapu
Kapu refers to the ancient Hawaiian code of conduct of laws and regulations. The kapu system was universal in lifestyle, gender roles, politics, religion, etc. An offense that was kapu was often a corporal offense, but also often denoted a threat to spiritual power, or theft of mana. Kapus were...

, were in abeyance during the usual mourning period. Women ate pork and bananas; people had sexual intercourse with whatever they pleased; routine life was completely overthrown. When a new high chief came to power, he usually re-imposed the kapu.

Liholiho did attempt to reestablish the kapu, but he was opposed by his mother, Keōpūolani
Kalanikauikaalaneo Kai Keōpūolani-Ahu-i-Kekai-Makuahine-a-Kama-Kalani-Kau-i-Kealaneo was a queen consort of Hawaii and the highest ranking wife of King Kamehameha I.-Early life:...

, and the other wives of Kamehameha, notably Kaahumanu
Elizabeth Kaahumanu was queen regent of the Kingdom of Hawaii and a wife of Kamehameha I. She was the king's favorite wife and also the most politically powerful, and continued to wield considerable power in the kingdom as the kuhina nui during the reigns of his first two successors.-Early...

, the powerful Maui
The island of Maui is the second-largest of the Hawaiian Islands at and is the 17th largest island in the United States. Maui is part of the state of Hawaii and is the largest of Maui County's four islands, bigger than Lānai, Kahoolawe, and Molokai. In 2010, Maui had a population of 144,444,...

 chiefess. He took refuge in his canoe and after sailing about aimlessly for two days on the west coast of the Big Island of Hawaiii
Hawaii (island)
The Island of Hawaii, also called the Big Island or Hawaii Island , is a volcanic island in the North Pacific Ocean...

, he landed and ate the feast of dogmeat (ordinarily reserved for women) that the chiefesses had prepared for him. Messengers were then sent over the islands announcing that eating was free and the kapu had fallen.
The downfall of the old religion was further hastened by the arrival of Christian missionaries a few months later.

Primary sources

  • Dibble, Sheldon. History of the Sandwich Islands, Lahainaluna, 1843
  • Kamakau, Samuel M. Ruling Chiefs of Hawai'i, Kamehameha Schools Press, 1961 (translation and reprint of nineteenth century newspaper columns)

Secondary sources

  • Daws, Gavan -- Shoal of Time, University of Hawaii Press, 1968
  • Kuykendall, R. -- Hawaiian Kingdom, Vol. 1, University of Hawaii Press, 1938
The source of this article is wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.  The text of this article is licensed under the GFDL.