Sunday, March 23, 2014

Maui Meanderings: Shh! History at Rest. . .

The line of traffic progressed at its regular snail’s pace along the highway connecting Lahaina Town to Ka’anapali Beach. The plus side of sitting in bumper-to-bumper traffic is that – at least on this stretch of Hawaiian highway -- you have a chance to admire the view out over the Pacific Ocean.

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Island of Lana'i in background

And sometimes a forced slowdown is what it takes to see things along the roadway that you might have missed had you been traveling the speed limit. Such was the case of the graveyard.

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Bordered by the highway, Wahikili State Wayside Park and the Hyatt Regency Maui, this resting place was pretty much barren ground, some gravestones hidden by overgrowth.  Water jugs and wilted leis indicated some tending. By whom? And when?

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A sign to the side of the five-acre site identifies it as Hanaka o’ o’ Cemetery, where immigrant plantation workers are buried.  On our walk into Lahaina one day we stopped to visit this somewhat forgotten- and  forlorn-looking place.

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Those laid to rest here, according to the small information sign, hailed from China, Japan, Portugal, Puerto Rico, Korea, Spain, and Philippines.

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Sugar Cane field in Maui
Sugar cane was the industry of the island after whaling ceased in the late 1800’s.

In 1862 Pioneer Mill Company opened and at its peak produced 45,000 tons of sugar.  

In 1910 there were  1,600 laborers, most of them contract workers at the mill.




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I’d like to tell you more about the people buried here or the cemetery, but two subsequent Internet searches have turned up little more than a few photos on Flickr.

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Are you drawn to cemeteries when you travel?  If so, where were they and what was your reaction to the experience? Many of you out there travel to Maui’s Ka’anapali Beach regularly. Have you ever visited this cemetery?

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As always, thanks for the time you spend with us ~ it is nice to have you along on our journeys. Keep your bags packed . . .we’ll be heading to Greece soon!

Linking up:
Travel Photo DiscoveryMonday

17 comments:

  1. Jackie, we stayed away from the Ka’anapali area right after are first night arrival. Just wasn't what we were into there. But, I'm like you I would be interested to know the stories behind the names on the grave sites.

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    1. We are with you Mike - Ka'anapali is not our cup of tea. This was one of the (few) humanizing sights I found in the over-developed tourist area. It was sad that while millions had been spent on tourism next door, funds didn't seem available to tend to this sacred site.

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  2. I'm drawn to old graveyards. I find myself trying to piece together the stories behind the tombstones---especially on old ones in New England.

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    1. Oh I would love to visit some of those graveyards in New England. . .the stories those headstones could tell. Thanks for stopping by Suzanne.

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  3. You know how much I love the mystery of old cemeteries and this one is exceptional. Merci Jackie!

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    1. Oh Heather, I actually thought of you and your posts about those mysterious cemeteries you find in France, when I wrote this post. This one - although completely different in appearance, reminded me of some of the mystery and history who've shown us. Hugs, Jackie (And again congrats to Remi!)

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  4. We drove Highway 20 in BC's remote interior a few year's ago. In the middle of nowhere we caught sight of gravestones and pulled over. It was a Native cemetery that had seen better days but it was actually quite interesting - and very beautiful as it was overgrown with wildflowers. It's amazing what you see when you slow down.

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    1. I find these kind of cemeteries as interesting -- maybe even moreso -- than those well-tended historic cemeteries that have become tourist sites. I am with you on the discoveries you make when you slow down. Have a great week.

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    1. Thanks for stopping by today! Glad you liked the article.

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  6. I love gardens like this, thanks for sharing!

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  7. Well Noel I've never thought of a cemetery as a garden before, but there is a similar type beauty isn't there? Thanks for visiting today and thanks, as always for hosting the linkup.

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  8. I've been to Ka'anapali, but I don't remember seeing this cemetery. I like that it's well tended. Qing Ming (Tomb Sweeping Day) will be observed in Penang next week. The cemeteries seem to be ignored most of the year, letting things get really overgrown. Relatives visit the graves on Qing Ming in order to tidy up and honor their ancestors by leaving food offerings. When the spirit is "done eating," the family can take the food home to eat it themselves. If a dog comes by and eats the food, then the spirit obviously manifested itself as a dog in order to better enjoy the meal. Qing Ming causes a lot of traffic on the roads near the cemeteries, so drivers know to take another route if possible.

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  9. Michele, you always provide the most interesting information! I'd never heard of Qing Ming before. Sure sounds a lot like the Day of the Dead celebrations that take place in Mexico and other countries in early November. Thanks for stopping by!

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  10. I am fascinated with old gravestones...they hold so much history. Great photos!

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  11. The rewards for people who persevere far exceed the discomfort that will should precede typically the victory.

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  12. Very interesting blog post - I would love to know the stories behind the people that were laid to rest there. How sad it would be if these migrant workers died away from their families and were buried there. But hopefully they are remembered by someone.

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