Free Shipping on US orders of $75+ via US Postal

October 20, 2019

Pono, like many Hawaiian words, does not have a one-to-one-word English translation. If there were one, it would probably be "righteousness," as in the state motto: "Ua Mau ke Ea o ka Aina i ka Pono," or "The life of the land is perpetuated in righteousness."

What's missing with the word "righteousness," however, is the balance and harmony pono connotes for Hawaiians. To be pono means to be in a state of harmony or balance with oneself, others, the land, work and life itself.

Samuel Hoyt Elbert's Hawaiian dictionary gives six different meanings for pono. While we most often think of pono as an adjective, some meanings here are nouns or adverbs:

  1. Goodness, uprightness, morality, moral qualities, correct or proper procedure, excellence, well-being, prosperity, welfare, benefit, behalf, equity, sake, true condition or nature, duty; moral, fitting, proper, righteous, right, upright, just, virtuous, fair, beneficial, successful, in perfect order, accurate, correct, eased, relieved; should, ought, must, necessary.
  2. Completely, properly, rightly, well, exactly, carefully, satisfactorily, much (an intensifier).
  3. Property, resources, assets, fortune, belongings, equipment, household goods, furniture, gear of any kind, possessions, accessories, necessities.
  4. Use, purpose, plan.
  5. Hope.
  6. Careless, informal, improper, any kind of (preceding a stem). For example: Ponoʻai, to eat in any way or anything, take potluck. Ponohana, to work any way that suits one. Pononō i ka noho, living any old way, shiftless. Pono lole, any kind of clothes. Mai pono hana ʻoe, akā e hana pono, don't work carelessly, but work carefully.

Pono, like mahalo, or a thankful way of living, and kuleana, or a sense of personal responsibility, is one of the values of the aloha spirit that's so deeply ingrained in Hawaiian culture. It differs slightly from the other values in that, for most, it is slightly out of reach. It is something to authentically aspire to rather than to fully attain, mostly because pono means more than doing the right thing in a given situation, but rather living life with balance, harmony and integrity, seeking to improve the surrounding world.

The concept of pono is taught to Hawaiian children at a very young age. It is a guiding principle that is to shape their every decision. "Is it pono?' they are to ask. In other words, will what you're about to do help bring harmony and good into the world?

The concept may feel a bit lofty until one considers an example. Littering is easy to do because it requires effort to put something into the garbage, especially if there isn't one nearby. The pono choice, however, would be to avoid littering, as it affects the earth, creating imbalance and introducing a foreign substance into the natural world. Picking up someone else's garbage is also a pono action, as it helps restore order and balance, even though it's a small action.

Pono is a large, diverse idea that encompasses a range of balanced, proper and good actions. It is also an idealistic one, in that everyone does something that's not pono once in a while. But the Hawaiian way is to keep reaching for pono in life by making righteous decisions each day.





Also in Aloha Fashion & Lifestyle News

2020 Aloha Shirt Christmas Gift Ideas
2020 Aloha Shirt Christmas Gift Ideas

November 02, 2020

Bring some island cheer to your loved ones this holiday season with some wearable Aloha. Nothing expresses the carefree happy lifestyle of the islands more than the perfect Hawaiian shirt or dress. We have prints ranging from boldly colorful to the elegantly subtle and everything in between.
Hawaiian vacation at home
How to Have a Hawaiian Vacation Without Leaving Your Home

September 17, 2020

In a perfect world, you could just hop on a plane, fly to Hawaii, and have a wonderful vacation to remember for the rest of your life. But due to the coronavirus pandemic, that dream may have to wait a little bit. But that does not mean you can’t experience a little bit of a Hawaiian vacation from the comforts of your own home. Just follow these simple steps and you’ll almost feel like you’re on vacation in Hawaii.
5 other shirts Tom Selleck wore on Magnum PI
Other Shirts Tom Selleck Wore on Magnum PI

September 12, 2020

When you think of Magnum PI, you probably think of Tom Selleck in his classic red Aloha shirt. But it was not the only one. Here are a few more shirts worn on the show and some background info about them.