The Significance of Flowers in the Hiaki Culture
By Maria Florez de Amarillas
Flowers have always been a source of delight for all of humanity. However, not only people appreciate flowers.
The animals and insects of this world also enjoy flowers. Some animals will eat some species of flowers, while insects,
specifically bees and butterflies delight in the nectar of a variety of flowers. Flowers are colorful, sweet smelling
and very pleasing to the eye.
For our people, the Hiaki nation, flowers have always played a very significant role in our culture and our traditions.
Flowers have always been very visible in our ceremonies which take place year round, but during Lent, specifically on
Holy Saturday (Savala Gloria) and Easter Sunday (Lominko Resureksion) , they appear in all kinds of shapes, sizes and colors.
To the Hiaki people, flowers represent new life, new beginnings, beauty and happiness. Just as Easter Sunday represents
the resurrection of Jesus Christ and his renewed life, the flowers that adorn the church altars, the front of the church,
the ramada where the Pahko'olam dance, and the community kitchen, represent the beginning of new life, the beauty of the
natural world and the happiness that Hiakis feel, particularly since Jesus Christ has returned from the dead. More importantly,
they represent the TEARS OF JOY that our Mother, the Virgin Mary, shed when her son rose from the dead. This is why flowers
are so important to the Hiaki people; because not only do they represent the tears of joy of our Holy Mother, but because
they represent everything that is good and beautiful in this world.
During Lent, the Hiakis say that the flower world has closed. In Hiaki, one will say, "Seewa Au Etak." There is no happiness,
only sadness. If you go to the different Hiaki community churches, you will see that all the flowers have been removed. The Hiaki
people go into a state of sadness and mourning for the impending "Passion of Christ" and his eventual death on the Cross. On
Fridays, processions are conducted on the "Way of the Cross" or as Hiakis say, "Konti Vo'o". These processions are a
re-enactment of the torturous journey that Jesus suffered as he made his way to the place called "Calvary". Calvary was
a part of a large cemetery in Jerusalem, a city in the country of Israel. The place where the crucifixions took place was
known as "Golgotha". Today that cemetery is no longer there; instead there is a big Catholic church built on this very sacred
ground and a special tomb within the church marks the place where Jesus died on the cross.
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