Easter is a celebration, usually spent with families, to remember the resurrection of Jesus Christ. I spent it celebrating with other worshippers who gathered before dawn at the place Hawaiians call Puowaina, the Hill of Sacrifice. They were serenaded by the Royal Hawaiian Band, and heard words of celebration and of faith for an Easter tradition that goes back 116 years.
Afterwards, I continued my person spiritual time surrounded by the lush beauty of His creaton in Waimea Valley.
Waimea Valley is a historical nature park deeply rooted in Hawaiian history and continues to be a respite for Hawaiian spirituality and traditions on the North Shore of Oahu, Hawaii. The valley includes several historical structures including stone terraces and walls constructed during the time of the Hawaiian monarchy. Much of the garden floor was once cultivated for taro (to make poi), sweet potatoes and bananas, with new crops and orchards introduced by Europeans after their arrival.
After brunch, I took a leisurely stroll through the lush Waimea Arboretum and Botanical Garden which contains 35 distinct collections from around the world.
At times I felt as if I’d been transported back to an ancient rain forest with the sounds of birds and every type of vegetation imaginable. The gardens include fine Polynesian plants, as well as excellent collections of very rare Hawaiian plants, and individual gardens dedicated to plants from Guam, Madagascar and the Seychelles Islands. I especially enjoyed the hibiscus garden, the bamboo and begonias.
At the end of the flat trail that weaves through the lush, tropical jungle is the grand Waimea Falls and swimming hole which is open to visitors when divers aren’t performing. Unlike other water falls I’ve hiked to, Waimea Falls was once a park where you could drive up the trail and sip on pineapple juice while watching cliff divers and hula dancers perform. Today the road is for foot traffic only and entertainment is more educational in nature. Each of the staff were friendly and seemed to take great pride in their heritage. www.waimeavalley.net
Driving home I was filled with joy (NOT poi) and grateful. Not only for Christ sacrifice, but for the joy of knowing my 20 family members were celebrating the holiest day of the year together and I was able to talk with them thanks to modern technology. May your week be filled with peace and goodwill.