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.
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 Hawaii 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.
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.
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.”
Wendie Burbridge is a published author, playwright and teacher. Reach her via Facebook and follow her on Twitter.