The Kukaniloko Birthing Site is an important cultural and historical site located in Central Oahu, Hawaii that is sacred to the native Hawaiians, as it was the place where many Ali’i (Hawaiian royalty) came to give birth to their children. The main reason for the choice of this site was the belief that there is an immense amount of spiritual energy (mana) in that area, which meant that the royal children born there would be blessed in their lives ahead, and would have prosperous reigns.
Kukaniloko means ‘to anchor the cry from within’, and the site originally consisted of two rows of 18 stones, which were meant to represent the 36 chiefs of Oahu who witnessed the births, and a stone backrest where a royal woman would give birth. The Kukaniloko Birthing Site was constructed during the 12th century A.D. by an Oahu chief. His son, Kapawa, was the first person to be born at the site. This spot was in use up until the 17th century A.D.
Whilst only royals were allowed to enter this sacred site, not all royals were allowed to give birth at the Kukaniloko Birthing Site. Only those who had not engaged in human sacrifices, and had unblemished genealogy were allowed to have their children at this birthing site. This rule seems to have been strictly enforced, as it is believed that Keopualani, the wife of King Kamehameha (the founder of the Kingdom of Hawaii), was not allowed to give birth at Kukaniloko, as the king practised human sacrifice.
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