Hawaii legalises traditional 'clean burial'

2015-07-01 17:09
(<a href=www.shutterstock.com>Shutterstock</a>)


Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Honolulu - In Hawaii, the dead can now be put to rest following an ancient Hawaiian custom called "clean burial" in which only a person's bones are buried, under a new law signed by Governor David Ige on Tuesday.

The law legalises the now-rare practice, once considered a violation of Hawaii's penal code, of allowing family members to handle bones of deceased loved ones after their flesh is removed in a partial cremation.

The burial practice, in use for thousands of years by Native Hawaiians, involves wrapping a family member's bones in special Hawaiian-made cloth and placing them in a burial container in a public or private cemetery.

The practice had largely stopped because of health concerns raised by the state.

"This measure makes it very clear that the most sacred traditions are allowed to be exercised by our Native Hawaiian community," Ige said at the signing ceremony at the state Capitol. "It needs to be crystal clear that our laws make it OK for anyone wanting to exercise traditional burial practices to do so."

Many Native Hawaiians believe the practice is something everyone should embrace, as it requires the body to be reduced to bones, which are believed to carry the essence of a person's life.

"Traditionally the long and larger bones would be washed, wrapped in cloth and put in a funeral basket and buried," said Kaleo Paik, a Native Hawaiian cultural practitioner with knowledge of burial rites.

In ancient times, only chiefs or Hawaiians of high rank were buried in this manner, Paik said. Their essence would steep into the grounds and be embodied by the land and the people who live on the land, she said.

"The Western tradition of full burial took away the process of infusing the land with Hawaiian elders," Paik said. "The whole purpose of the practice is to have these elders disintegrate naturally into our land."

Read more on:    hawaii

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.