Pono Meaning

Pono Meaning

There’s no shortage of meaningful words in the Hawaiian language. There are hundreds of words and phrases that are deeply rooted in the ancient culture and shared wisdom of the Hawaiian people. And there are few other cultures that practice what they preach as sincerely as the Hawaiians do. This is why learning the Hawaiian language is a glimpse into a living, vibrant culture that is one of the world’s great treasures. One word in Hawaiian, which defines how many Hawaiians look at life, is pono.

Pono is commonly translated as ‘righteousness’. In fact, it’s right there in the state motto, which reads Ua Mau ke Ea o ka ʻĀina i ka Pono, and literally translates to ‘The life of the land is perpetuated in righteousness’. But like most Hawaiian words, pono is powerful and descriptive, and can be applied to many different areas of life and community - so there are many different ways to interpret this tiny slip of a word.

What are the different meanings for the word pono?

Strictly speaking, the Hawaiian dictionary by Mary Kawena Pukui's and Samuel Hoyt Elbert's gives six Hawaiian meanings and eighty-three English translations for the word pono! Just a few of the direct translations for pono into English show the range of the word: from ideas of goodness (uprightness, morality, moral qualities, correct or proper procedure) to objective excellence, personal or communal well-being or material prosperity, welfare, shared ideas of wealth such as equity, and ways of communicating the benefit or purpose of something, it’s true condition or nature, and almost countless other ideas around virtue or desirable things, both material and spiritual.

These are only superficial translations. The word carries a lot of depth and meaning, and to understand the true significance of the word, it isn’t a dictionary we must turn to. It’s Hawaiian culture itself, which reflects the values that pono stands for.

What is the deeper meaning of the word pono?

In life, pono stands for righteousness and balance. In Hawaiian, if a person is living pono, it means that they have struck the right balance in their relationships with other things, places, and people in their lives. It also means that they are living with a continuous conscious decision to do right by themselves, by others, and by the world in general.

Essentially, pono is a state of existence that is characterized by integrity and a feeling of contentment when everything is good and right. The idea behind this word and this way of life is that moral behavior leads to happiness for the doer and for everyone around them.

What effect does the practice of pono have on the society?

The short answer would be that it has an extremely positive effect on people in particular and the society at large, made up of all the communities that people are a part of. People who follow the principle of pono are always hopeful and optimistic. Pono is one of the main reasons why the people of Hawaii always have a ready smile and a helping hand, and it’s why Hawaii as a whole is one of the happiest and most beautiful cultures to learn about, experience, and immerse yourself in.

What is a Hui Hou?

The answer to this question is two parts. "Hui" translated means joining, congregating and uniting, in other words, "Hui" means to bring together, to become one. On the other hand "Hou"  means meeting again, or in other words the conjoining of two things. When you put into two words together "Hui Hou" in Hawaiian it means "until we meet again". 

What is the meaning of kuleana?

The defintion of kuleana in hawaiian is respionsibility and acctounability. When one is practiving Kuleana, the person is practicing respionsibility and accountability in their daily life. In Hawaiian culture, Kuleana means to have broader sense of respionsibility to themsleves and their community. And it means taking respionsibility and accountability for your own actions in your life. This applies to all areas of life, which is why, practicing Kuleana is a great skill to have. 

What does ono mean in hawaiian?

The term ono in Hawaiian means delicious. In other words, the word "ono" means something sweet. Many times a person will use "ono" in combination of food such as "puaa" ("Puaa" means pork in Hawaiian). So when you put those two words together "Ono Puaa" 

What is Hawaiian mana?

Mana is hawaiian culture means "spiritual energy" but it also means power and strength. Mana also refers to "life force" which exists in all people, things and objects. There is often a reference to a deep respect when referring to Mana in Hawaiian culture. It is believed that mana can be gained or possessed through actions, for example, when you act through respionsibility and strength it is believed you will gain Mana.