Updated: Oct 4
If you're getting married in Hawaii, you probably know that the blowing of the "pu" or conch shell is a ritual that's repeated in Hawai'i to signal the start and end of special events like Hawaii weddings, gorgeous Kona Sunsets, and even sporting events. But did you know that the blowing of the conch shell isn't just a Hawaiian or Polynesian tradition?
The geographic and chronological span of conch playing is immense. Among the earliest surviving conch trumpets are those that were used in the Mediterranean region, some of which date to the Neolithic period, between 6000 B.C. and 3000 B.C. The instrument, made from a variety of native species, was known across Europe, in India, China, Japan, Tibet, Oceania, and the Americas.
It's well know that the conch has been used as a signaling device as mentioned earlier, but it's also been used as a sacred instrument in various religions and spiritual ceremonies around the world. It is often associated with acknowledgement of the natural elements related to its habitat—such as rain, water, and wind, fertility, and new beginnings. The conch is also used to represent the sacred breath of life. Some might call this the "ha" in "Aloha.
The conch is indeed an instrument, and like any instrument the vibrations that emit from it can be dependent upon who's in possession of it. Sound isn't only about hearing, but about feeling. When I commence a blessing with the blowing of the conch I often see wide smiles, giddy laughter, tears, or a combination all three. These reactions tell me that whatever is happening, it apparently feels good, and for that reason, I enjoy beginning each blessing by blowing the pu.
If you're reading this because you're thinking of booking a wedding in Hawaii with us, or anyone else, it's all about what you want to experience, and what feels right to you. But now that you have a bit more information on the history and shared experience of the blowing of the conch, we hope that you'll feel more comfortable making your choice, whatever it may be.
Stay well, and always move forward with love and light.