pū shell

A large white shell with brown dots.
A large white shell with brown dots.

Although I was not born or raised in Hawaii, my step family has made me feel otherwise. Every year when we celebrate Hawaiian culture in California, we blow the pū shell to begin the festival. When my step-mom and her family got a new job she moved from Hawaii to Michigan, until in 1984 they settled in Napa, CA. She remembers getting off the plane and looking at all the scenery which was very different from where she lived beforehand.  After a couple years of living in Napa, my step-mom and her family wanted to make more of the Hawaiian culture, and share it with others. A small band of people had created an Aloha festival, and they decided to volunteer. Over the years it began getting more popular with thousands of people going every year.. A memory that always pops in my mind when I think of the pū shell is being at my puna’s  where the pū shell sits on the fireplace waiting to be blown. When it is time, we take the pū shell off the fireplace and take it to the festival. During the celebration many non-Hawaiians gather, which gives us a chance to show them Hawaiian food, dancing, and singing. It is taught that when blowing the pū shell you let spirits blow for you; it's not supposed to feel forced. It’s almost like connecting yourself with the gods. When I think of the pū shell I think of teaching others about Hawaiian culture and making them feel a part of something greater, making them feel like family, because in Hawaiian culture everyone is family even if you’re not blood related. 

Place(s): Hawaii, Napa
Year: 1984

– Philina

Relationship:  unknown unknown