Religion was the paramount aspect of Hawaiian life, permeating every daily activity, every aspect of secular affairs, and every significant event, such as birth, marriage, death, house construction, fishing, agriculture, and war. Ancient Hawaiians worshipped a vast number of deities, of which there were two main categories. Akua represented nature's elements—they were the personifications of great natural forces. The 'aumakua were the familiar ancestral protective gods.
Over time and contact with European and Asian immigrants, religion as part of Hawaiian life and culture continued to evolve with each generation.
A note to travelers: If you visit Hawai'i and choose to visit a site of religious or spiritual importance, please approach the site or those worshiping there with respect and reverence. Always remember—take only memories, leave only footprints.
Last updated: August 19, 2019