Tiki

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  • Topic: Hawaiian mythology, James Cook, Hawaiian Islands
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  • Published : February 10, 2013
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The Four Major Tiki Gods
Hawaiian Forces of Nature Personified

Ku – Ancient Tiki God of War
In Hawaiian mythology Ku is one of the four great gods along with the ancient tiki gods, Kanaloa, Kane, and Lono. He was the husband of the goddess Hina (Beckwith 1970:12), suggesting a complementary dualism as the word ku in the Hawaiian language means "standing up" while one meaning of 'hina' is 'fallen down.'

Ku is worshipped under many names, including Ku-ka-ili-moku, the "Seizer of Land" (a feather-god, the guardian of Kamehameha). Rituals included human sacrifice, which was not part of the worship of the other gods. Ku, Kane, and Lono caused light to shine in upon the world. They are uncreated gods who have existed from eternity (Tregear 1891:540).

Lono – Ancient Tiki God of Fertility and Peace
In Hawaiian mythology, Lono is a fertility and music god who descended to Earth on a rainbow to marry Laka. In agricultural and planting traditions, Lono was identified with rain and food plants. He was one of the four gods (with Ku, Kane, and his twin brother Kanaloa) who existed before the world was created. Lono was also the god of peace. In his honor, the great annual festival of the Makahiki was held. During this period (from October through February), all unnecessary work and war was kapu (taboo). This is also the season of taxes, olympic like games and when chiefs regrouped their forces (and organized campaigns ironically). 

Lono and the death of Captain Cook
Some Hawaiians believed that Captain James Cook was Lono returned and indeed this fact may have ultimately contributed to Capt. Cook's death (see James Cook - Third voyage (1776-1779)). However, it is uncertain whether Captian Cook was taken for the god Lono or one of several historical or legendary figures who were also referred to as Lono-i-ka-Makahiki. According to Beckwith, there was indeed a tradition that such a human manifestation of the god [Lono] had actually appeared, established games and perhaps the...
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