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Hongi by Sinitalela Hongi by Sinitalela
"Hongi" is the Maori tradition of a greeting where two people press noses and breathe in. It's an ancient ritual where the two exchange "ha", the breath of life. When hongi is done with a visitor, they are no longer a visitor. Instead they become one with the people.

My version here called for me to change the boy in the original photo to a young Samoan boy. My client is Samoan and his girlfriend Maori. This is a gift for her. He had asked for a painting of kids so I thought why not paint a Maori tradition that a Samoan boy is performing. So here we have the Maori girl initiating the Samoan boy into her people in the act of Hongi. I like the boy's expression; he sort of has a "I'd only do this for you" type of face as if he finds the tradition silly but loves the girl enough to take part in it.

If you know any Polynesians, you also know we like to tease each other about the other culture' traditions. But behind the jokes, there is a deep respect and appreciation for them all. We as a Polynesian people are connected in many ways: different, but the same.
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hlootoo Featured By Owner Jul 23, 2013  Hobbyist Artist
So sweet! :3
witch13888 Featured By Owner Jul 19, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
I still can't get over how much I love this. :heart:
Sarkananight Featured By Owner Feb 8, 2013  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Aww, they're so adorable!! :love:
benten92 Featured By Owner Sep 17, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
So absolutely amazing OoO I never seen a super-cute expression like this x3333
Haupia Featured By Owner Jul 3, 2011  Student Photographer
This is absolutely adorable. And interesting to know that Maori and Kanaka Maoli's use the same word for breath and have similar, if not the same way of exchanging the breath of life, though that shouldn't quite be surprising.

But anyway, I love this. (:
Sinitalela Featured By Owner Jul 6, 2011
thank u! yes and i love how we all share similarities
Haupia Featured By Owner Jul 7, 2011  Student Photographer
Lol, I would group myself into we but I'm not Hawaiian. Still yet, Hawaii / Hawaiian Culture is part of who I am. Sorta.
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Submitted on
May 18, 2011
Image Size
6.7 MB


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Creative Commons License
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Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License.