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
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.
Informant Info: The informant is a 20-year-old female who was born and raised in San Antonio, Texas. Her mother is Caucasian, and her father is Hispanic. She currently lives in Orlando, Florida and works for Walt Disney World.
Interviewer: Do you have any rituals that you perform? Whether it’s a family tradition or something you have to do for luck or positivity – anything of the sorts?
Interviewee: Do morning routines count? Because they are something I take very seriously! It’s like you and coffee!
Interviewer: Sure, go ahead!
Interviewee: Morning routines are something I take very seriously. As an individual I like to think of myself as spontaneous and very outgoing but before I can do that I have to complete my morning routine. Very contradicting– I know!…. Spontaneity but orderly. It’s a good mix. So, at night I set two alarms. One 3 hours before I have to leave and one 2 hours to allow myself time to fully wake up. Once awake I turn on my shower to get it nice and hot. Then I brush my teeth and put my contacts in. Then I wash my face and take a shower. Once I’m dressed I call my mom while I make my lunch (I think she’s the most essential part to my morning routine). Then I’m off to work but before I go in I have to get Starbucks or some form of coffee. I don’t want to say I’m addicted, but I’m addicted. My day goes horribly wrong if I don’t have it in my system. Then I’m off to conquer my day and I do it all again the next.
This does not seem like a traditional ritual, but the informant’s morning ritual is a ritual nonetheless, just on an individual level. Parts of her ritual can also be classified as superstitions that she holds it extremely dear to her daily life. For instance, her belief that her day goes horribly wrong if she doesn’t have coffee is superstitious. There could be many reasons or coincidences as to why her day might be good or bad – not just whether or not she had coffee. (But as someone else who loves coffee, I completely understand where she is coming from).