At some point in your life you’ve probably heard that Aloha means both “hello” and “goodbye.” But that’s not exactly true. While it is something said when you arrive or leave, Aloha doesn’t translate to “hello” (or “good day”) the way “bonjour” does in French.
Aloha is so much richer, deeper, and more meaningful. It’s more akin to the Hebrew word “shalom.”
// Sharing this Life and breath Together
When two people on the islands would greet, they would place their foreheads together and share a breath. It was a reminder to each of them that they were both alive, both sharing the same air, and both dependent on each other for survival.
It’s also a vulnerable place to be.
The values of being kind to others, showing compassion, being gentle and loving, become more desirable when you might have to push your forehead against another’s when they come or go.
// A front-facing breath
Aloha is made up of two words:
“alo” which means front, face, or presence
“ha” which means breath.
So, sharing that “front-facing presence of breath” upon greeting is ALOHA. It’s acknowledging that we share this place, this air, and this life together.
// So much more than a salutation: living Aloha
Aloha is a way to care for others. It’s peace. It’s love. It’s Shalom. It’s hospitality. It’s unity. It’s so many things. To live Aloha is more important than saying it as a greeting.
To live Aloha means you’re caring for those around you. It means you don’t get upset and honk when you’re driving but give the right-away. It means you’re patient and kind. It’s a chance to give back. It means caring for the creatures of the islands and the islands themselves. It’s about living in harmony with others and the world around you.
Aloha is a state of mind. It’s a way of life. Live Aloha. Travel with Aloha. The world will be a better place if we all practiced more Aloha!