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Watch: From Maunakea to Haleakala, Chants Welcome Earth Day

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Hawai‘i was the last state in which the sun rose on Earth Day. The nonprofit Kanu Hawai‘i, which stands as the nation’s largest celebration of National Volunteer Week hosted E Ala Ē, a Hawaiian chant that united voices from every island on Earth Day.

On Earth Day 2022 at sunrise, groups across Hawai‘i gathered atop Hawaii island’s Maunakea and Maui’s Haleakala. They were joined by islanders and visitors who congregated in sacred Hawaiian spaces and places, urban centers and along the coastlines. All participated in a chant that began at 6:06 a.m. Hawaiian sunrise.

E Ala Ē (translated to awaken to rise) was led by Hawaiian elders and cultural practitioners from every island. These leaders shared Hawaii’s message for all to rise up and awaken to the needs of the planet. Participants also attended from home, school or anywhere worldwide.

“The sacred Hawaiian chant is about the sun’s reflection on water that creates a pathway of hope,” said Todd Yamashita, who led the island of Molokai’s event. “It’s a chant about renewal. Collectively and actively creating hope is the magic driving E Ala Ē.” 

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The chant is:

E Ala E (Awaken/Arise)

E ala e (Awaken/Arise)

Ka lā i ka hikina (The sun in the east)

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I ka moana, ka moana hohonu (The ocean deep)

Piʻi ka lewa, ka lewa nuʻu (Climbing to the heaven)

I ka hikina (In the east)

Aia ka lā (There is the sun)

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E ala e (Awaken/Arise)

Cultural Practitioner Kimeona Kane who led the Oahu E Ala Ē said: “The best way to move forward is together.” The purpose of the oli is to bring a cultural context to an international day of environmental awareness. Having volunteers from across Hawaii and around the world to celebrate Earth Day and solidarity in environmental activism that is culturally appropriate is the goal.

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