The malo (loincloth) was the main apparel for men in Hawai`i which was long strip of kapa 3-6 yards long that was girded around the loins with pola (flaps) down in from and back. A variation of this was the pūʻali (warrior malo) which was girded around the waist with pole tucked in. Fishermen on shore also used this pūʻali style so that their poles, lines, tackle or nets would not get entangled.
While malo making was the general work of wāhine (women), kāne (men) did make very coarse kapa called uʻauʻa and wāliʻiliʻi, ribbed kapa like corduroy, for durability when fishing or farming.
The phrase, "E hume i ka malo," is synonymous with readiness as seen in these two phrases:
1. E hume i ka malo, e hoʻokala i ka ihe. (ʻŌlelo Noʻeau #299)
Gird the loincloth, sharpen the spear. (Pukuʻi, 1983, p. 37)
2. E kū e hume a paʻa i ka malo.
Stand, gird, and make your malo firm. (Kalākaua, 1886, p. 20)
When the boy is ready to enter into the Hale Mua (institution of education for men), he will hume
his malo for the first time.
Hume to gird the malo
Kuapo the "belt" of the malo
Malo men's loincloth
Pola the flap of the malo
Pūʻali warrior malo
Wā (Time): Malo were put on before work which was in the morning. In times of battle, other coverings were layered over the pūʻali such as kāhei/kāʻai
(fiber belts) or ʻahu moena (coarse mats).
Wahi (Place): The malo is gird in the privacy of the hale or hālau (house or school).
Kūlana (Position): When a boy dons his malo for entry into the Hale Mua, he enters into the world of men. He leaves the world of women to learn his
profession and the ways of manhood.
Kuleana (Responsibility): The poʻo or haiku hale is responsible for teaching the boy how to hume the malo.
Video Instruction coming soon.
Overview of malo/
How to tie a malo
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