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n. A temple in traditional Hawaiian society.


A heiau (English IPA: /ˈheɪaʊ/) is a Hawaiian temple. Many types of heiau were built, including heiau to treat the sick (heiau hōola), offer first fruits, offer first catch, start rain, stop rain, increase the population, ensure the health of the nation, achieve success in distant voyaging, reach peace, and achieve success in war (luakini).

Only the luakini was dedicated through human sacrifice. There are two types of luakini. They were called the ohia ko and hakuohia.

Heiau were made in different architectural styles depending upon their purpose and location. At the official end of Hawaiian religion in 1819 under pressure from Christian missionaries, many were deliberately destroyed, while others were allowed to fall into disrepair. Heiau are still considered sacred by many of the inhabitants of Hawaii, and some are not open to the public. In ancient times, only chiefs and priests were allowed into some of these heiau. Some heiau structures have been fully restored physically and are operated in the 21st century as public attractions.

Usage examples of "heiau".

I would walk carefully across the rocks to the old canoe beside the main heiau when I knew he would leave the icebag.

On some nights -- when he was sure I had no visitors -- he would bring the ice all the way out to the heiau and we would sit for a while, and talk about what was happening.

Highway 19 and were nearing Puukohola Heiau, the Temple on the Hill of the Whale, when Ocipovich found what he was looking for.

During the day, the ruins of Puukohola Heiau, the Temple on the Hill of the Whale, would be visible on his right.

American graves and knew that beneath them were the lava rocks of scattered heiaus, the sacred platforms where kahunas had killed people to please the gods.