Pwo is a sacred initiation ritual, in which students of traditional navigation in the Caroline Islands in Micronesia become master navigators and are initiated in the associated secrets. Many islanders in the area indicate that this ceremony originated on the island of Pollap, or nearby islands.
The Pwo today is having a comeback in importance. In the days before World War II, it was common to have Pwo take place. After WWII, through westernization and the influence of missionaries traditional practices including Pwo started to be abandoned. Mau Piailug, famous for helping Hawaiians regain their traditional navigation skills, was the last person to go through Pwo, in 1951. For thirty-nine years, the ceremony lay dormant. Then, in May 1990, Pwo again took place. This time Urupiy, a master navigator, with help of an American documentary anthropologist, Eric Metzgar, conducted the Pwo for his son and four other students on the island of Lamotrek. This event was subsequently made into the film Spirits of the Voyage.
On March 18, 2007, Piailug presided over the first Pwo ceremony for navigators on the island of Satawal in 56 years. At the event five native Hawaiians and eleven others were inducted into Pwo as master navigators. The Polynesian Voyaging Society presented Piailug a double-hulled canoe, the Alingano Maisu, as a gift for his key role in reviving traditional wayfinding navigation in Hawaii.
Then on March 2008, Piailug presided the Pwo ceremony for Maori navigator Hekenukumai Nga Iwi Busby.
Usage examples of "pwo".
In one ear, when he'd got it on, he'd be connected to the Open Line, an audio-circuit linking him to the officer of the watch and to the navigating officer, chief yeoman, PWOs I and 2 and the EW - electronic warfare - director.