Five-0 Redux: Blessing brings meaning

Jul. 12, 2014 | 6 Comments

"Hawaii Five-0" Hawaiian language and protocol advisor, Kauila Kawelo Barber, blesses the cast and crew. (SA photo by Craig T. Kojima)

PHOTOS BY CRAIG T. KOJIMA / CKOJIMA@STARADVERTISER.COM

“Hawaii Five-0″ Hawaiian language and protocol advisor, Kauila Kawelo Barber, blesses the cast and crew.

BY WENDIE BURBRIDGE / Special to the Star-Advertiser

It was a special treat for “Hawaii Five-0” fans worldwide as they watched the season five blessing unfold live via the Internet this week.

"Hawaii Five-0" star Alex O'Loughlin draped in maile for the season five blessing. (SA photo by Craig T. Kojima)

“Hawaii Five-0″ star Alex O’Loughlin draped in maile for the season five blessing.

I chatted with fans from all over the United States — 23 states, to be exact — and several foreign countries, including Canada, Wales, Scotland, Ireland, England, France, Portugal, Germany, Switzerland, Italy, Morocco, Argentina, Australia, and Indonesia.

Fans were thrilled to see Alex O’Loughlin, Daniel Dae Kim, Grace Park, Jorge Garcia, Dennis Chun, Al Harrington and Taylor Wily, along with executive producers Peter Lenkov and Brian Downer and other crew members.

The blessing was led by kumu hula and “Hawaii Five-0” Hawaiian language and protocol advisor Kauila Kawelo Barber. He spoke about the number five, ʻelima in Hawaiian, which is significant as “lima” also means “hand.” Barber explained how important their hands will be during their fifth season in producing a good show.

Barber followed traditional Hawaiian protocol by offering a pule kāhea (invocation prayer), and conducting a pī kai (salt water sanctification ritual) with kī leaves as he blessed the cast and crew.

Many fans noticed O’Loughlin, Kim, and Lenkov wore maile lei, which is also used in ka wehena o nā maile (the unraveling of sacred maile vines) in order to open a business or home, or even a new season of “Five-0,” according to Kahu Kalani Silva of the Hawaiʻi Cultural and Spiritual Services Center.

Park and Chun, however, wore orchid lei called the Christina, made with hundreds of orchid petals that are layered to look like feathers when worn. 
Both maile and Christina lei are often used in important ceremonies.

Dennis Chun wears a Christina lei and Peter Lenkov wears maile at the season five blessing. (SA photo by Craig T. Kojima)

Dennis Chun wears a Christina lei and Peter Lenkov wears maile at the season five blessing.

Since the blessing on Tuesday, the level of excitement amongst fans has only increased. Many are counting down the days to Sept. 13, when the show hosts its annual Hawaii premiere at Sunset on the Beach in Waikiki. Behind the scenes video and pictures from the first two days of shooting have already flooded the Internet.

The additional news that “Hawaii Five-0” has been nominated for two Emmys — one to director and stunt coordinator Jeff Cadiente and a second to special effects coordinator John Hartigan — has created even more of a buzz.

While many fans commented about O’Loughlin’s vacation beard and how Scott Caan was missing from the blessing, one question many asked was about the blessing itself. What it meant, and why for the fifth year in a row, “Hawaii Five-0” started their season with a traditional Hawaiian blessing.

"Hawaii Five-0" stars Grace Park, Alex O'Loughlin, and Jorge Garcia. (SA photo by Craig T. Kojima)

“Hawaii Five-0″ stars Grace Park, Alex O’Loughlin, and Jorge Garcia.

For Hawaiians, starting any new project — like breaking ground on a building, opening a new business or moving into a new home — would only begin after a blessing by a kahu or spiritual advisor. The main reason is to purify the space (or project) of negativity, create harmony and balance for everyone involved, ask for protection and safety, and give thanks for being allowed to work within an atmosphere of kindness and respect.

Hawaiians also thank their akua and ‘aumakua (ancestral guardian spirits) for blessing them with aloha and supporting them in their kuleana (responsibility). Having a kahu conduct the blessing is a very pono, or correct, way to start any important and significant project.

“Hawaii Five-0” has definitely benefited from starting each season with a blessing. Many television shows don’t last very long. But to last five seasons with their 100th episode on the way, “Five-0” has definitely been more than blessed.

REDUX SIDE NOTE

Actress Amy Hill is in Hawaii this week to teach Acting Core Intensive, a two-day class offered this weekend at UH-Manoa. Hill, best known for her role as Sue, the owner of the Hukilau Café in “Fifty First Dates” (which was filmed in Hawaii), will guest star in the season five premiere of “Hawaii Five-0.”
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Wendie Burbridge is a published author, playwright and teacher. Reach her via Facebook and follow her on Twitter.

  • Linda M. Stein

    Thanks Wendie for another great lesson on the traditions of Hawaii. Having watched the last 3 blessings online I can see how important it is to everyone involved. It’s always so wonderful to see the mutual respect between everyone involved in the show and the island and her traditions. It’s only right that a show filmed in a non-traditional Hollywood place embrace the culture of that place and show it to its best advantage. Hawaii Five-0 does that so well. And, as the wonderful Dennis Chun said at the blessing, having people like you, Lisa Woo, Amy Bakari and others spread the Aloha and help us understand what we are seeing makes Five-0 special in ways no other TV show has ever done. At least not for me.

    So great to see Alex, Grace, Daniel, Jorge and all the others again after 3 long months of Five-0 drought. They all look happy, rested and refreshed. Sounds like they are going to need it with a 25 episode season coming. The fans are thrilled but I think the cast will be running for vitamins, especially Alex. What a workload!!! But I’m positive it will all be wonderful to see when it hits our screens just like always.

    I’m looking forward to spending a long night in front of my computer watching all the festivities of SOTB come September. I wish to God I could be there and watch the premiere with my Ohana but I’ll be thinking of them all and living vicariously through their tweets, blogs and pictures while they have a blast on the beach. I hope you get a chance to go this year Wendie. You’re coverage is always THE BEST.

    So, here’s to a new season of our favorite show! Can’t wait to see what the writers have in story for us this time. I better start stocking up on tissues and wine if it’s anything like last season! So glad you’ll be here to help me through it all. Mahalo sistah!

  • jlopie1

    There’s something about Hawaiian blessings that just seem to give one immediate power and peace! Such a wonderful way to start off a new season! Best wishes to all the cast and crew for a fantastic S5 and a stupendous 100th episode!

  • Angela Gerstner

    Mahalo nui loa, Wendie, for giving us another one of your great insights into Hawaiian traditions – in this case, the blessing and its significance and meaning. It is, indeed, a truly wonderful tradition to bless a new project – or season. And I’d say that two Emmy nominations for “Hawaii Five-0″ just two days after its latest blessing, are clearly a very good sign and give hope for another excellent season.

    Even though the team of H50 has gone through some trouble over the past few seasons (such as injuries sustained by members of the cast and stunt-team, or mobbing and verbal attacks against certain cast members), it is safe to say that, overall, the show has definitely been a huge success and is immensely popular and loved by fans around the world – and I’m convinced that the blessings have something to do with that.

    Fans like me love to watch the annual blessing ceremony because all of us wish for the team of our favorite show to have a safe, successful and blessed season ahead of them. Last year, I even stayed up until 1.30 a.m. to watch live because I wouldn’t want to miss this important event. In this context, I’d like to send a huge Mahalo to Hawaii News Now and the wonderful Tannya Joaquin for always giving us the opportunity to tune in live and to enjoy the interviews with our favorites – even as far away as in Germany.

    I loved this year’s interview with Dennis Chun who mentionned you and Amy Bakari since both of you have become almost ambassadors for the show and for Hawaii by spreading the spirit of aloha worldwide with your blogs, fansites and in fan tweet-ups. I agree with Dennis that this show is very special because of its spirit of aloha and `ohana – not only among those working on the show but even among its fans around the globe. While there are, of course, exceptions, and there are certain “fans” that the show could do without, Dennis is perfectly right. It is a great pleasure to have wonderful people and true Hawaiians like you as a friend – thanks to this truly blessed show and the love we share for it!

  • edmattes763

    Thanks to you Wendie for the explanation of the blessing’s meaning. It’s very good that they have done this every year to get the show off to a good start. I think the international reach is amazing as by your reckoning fans were watching at all hours of the day (for them) and all around the world. I would be remiss if I didn’t thank HNN for the streaming online coverage, so mahalo to them. As always your blog is part of my Saturday ritual.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=541856128 Mike Rose

    I once boaught a boat on Maui to try my hand at small time commercial fishing, you know, restaurant sales and the like. We had a Hawaiian priest give the boat a blessing. It was a very cool experience. Also, we were told that we must return the first fish we caught back to the sea for respect. It turned out to be about 40 pound Wahoo, hard to let go but we did. Suffice to say that all in all, I believe the blessing was just that, a blessing…

  • Diane

    Thank you Wendy, for being the teacher of the Hawaii traditions for all of us H50 fans who don’t live in Hawaii. Since this show has aired, we have been treated to many traditions of the hawaiian culture and people. The hawaiian people have many beautiful ceremonies, and I enjoy learning about them all.