E Ala E!

Main Piece:

Informant: Something we do before the sun rises is a chant called E Ala E. It basically connects us with our ancestors. It means “awaken and arise.” You perform this by saying the chant three times. 


E ala e

Ka la i kahikina

I ka moana

Ka moana hohonu

Pi’i ka lewa

Ka lewa nu’u

I kahikina 

Aia ka la.

E ala e!



The sun in the east

From the ocean

The ocean deep

Climbing (to) the heaven

The heaven highest

There is the sun

In the east


Context: The informant is a current freshman at USC. She lived in Hawaii until she graduated high school. Growing up there, she learned all about the customs and folklore of Hawaii. She learned this chant from her family who taught it to her.

Thoughts: It was really interesting to learn about the chant. It shows how my friend still thinks of her ancestors and holds a connection with them through this chant. Hearing this chant and its translation for the first time, if it wasn’t told to me, I would not think that it focuses on an ancestral connection. At first glance, it seems to speak to the sun, so I thought it was a chant to a God of some sort.