Nationality: American

Primary Language: English

Other language(s): French, a bit of Hebrew

Age: 18

Occupation: Student

Residence: California

Performance Date: 3-20-18


What it is: Our Mana-ray Mana (Ohana)

“It was an ordinary day during our summer vacation on the Hawaiian Island, Maui. My sister and I decided to go for a swim in the ocean with our Aunt and cousins, we were all in inner tubes. All of the sudden we started hearing ‘SHARK! SHARK! Come back in!’ from a man on the beach. My sister and I looked back and saw three black fins pop out of the waves. My sister grabs my arm and we kick ferociously back to show, losing the inner tube on the way in. I was perfectly fine but my sister was freaking out. So our parents had our friend, John (who was a native Hawaiian), come over and explain the Hawaiian legends of experiences with wildlife on the Island. By the time he came over, we had realized they were mana-ray (completely harmless) not sharks. None-the-less, John went on to explain that in the Hawaiian culture an experience lie this is actually very rare and special. He said to not be scared of the wildlife, that the mana-rays were our mana (family spirits) and that we were blessed to be surrounded by so many.”

Why they know it:  This was something Amanda and I personally witnessed years ago and were told about the mana and the legend behind them.

When is it said: The legend of the mana is something that is told often. It is told to those who were blessed with their presence and just as a part of the Hawaiian culture as a whole. There is not one specific event or time period that makes the mana a topic of conversation.

Where did it come from: Hawaiian, Polynesia

Why it’s said: Often, the legend of the mana is said when an experience like the one above has occurred. It is also, however, told to those who seek to gain more knowledge about the Hawaiian culture. To be visited by your mana is a great sign of luck and a great blessing.

How they know it and what it means: John knows this knowledge because of his life on the island, the fact that he is native Hawaiian, and ultimately his cultures great incorporation of their myths, legends, and traditions. Amanda and I now know this knowledge, not only because of our lives on Maui, but because of John who is our Ohana.

Thoughts: I was the girl freaking out in the story above, and well, I was terrified. However, after John told us of the mana that surrounds us and that this is a blessing and a sign of good luck, my fear lessened. I didn’t exactly get back in the water the next day but I learned to love my Mana and I know seek for them everywhere. Mana means spirits, which is thought to be the spirits of your ancestors and they help guide you through life’s greatest (and not so great) adventures. While the experience was terrifying at the time it has made me feel more connected to the island that I love and to my ancestors.