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moon, the kauila days were assigned first to Ku; at the rounding of the moon to Hua; and at the waning of the moon to Kanaloa, Kane and Lono, in that order.
Services to Ku on the human sacrifice or "war" heiau were confined to the period between the spring equinox and the summer solstice, between April and June. Human sacrifices were restricted to luakini ceremonies on the heiau po'okanaka (human sacrifice) or heiau kaua (war temple), dedicated to Ku as patron deity of warrior chiefs. The quantity of human sacrifices varies in accounts from three to as many as twenty-six for building or consecrating the luakini po'okanaka. Since criminals who broke the kapu akua supplied the sacrificial numbers, and since these ceremonies only took place when the community went to war or when the ruling chief sickened and died from sorcery, the impression is allowed that people were not being carried off to the execution altars every year, but it would seem that the chiefs and priests kept note of who in the community skipped the services or disturbed the peace. This does not rule out the likelihood that chiefs could revenge themselves easily upon their opposition. So, it is interesting once again to note how the society provided the escape hatch: first, in the form of the pu'uhonua "cities of refuge" dedicated to Lono, wherein criminals were granted full mercy from violations of the kapu akua that brought the death penalty in judgment upon them; and again in the right of any man to remove himself and his family from his ali'i and move out of his constituent 'ohana to any other district or island beyond the reach of revengeful overlords. What of those, however, who knowingly stayed and accepted their lot, unless taken unawares by the priests? From several accounts (particularly that of the penitent behavior of men in Kamehameha's army who were sacrificed before the Battle of Nu'uanu in the heiau Papa'ena'ena on O'ahu) it would seem that compliance was consistent with religious beliefs, that proper restitution was owing to society and the 'aumakua by willingness to admit wrongdoing and to suffer punishment order to reach eternal existence as living spirit, absolved finally of crime.
Overthrow of the Kapu System in 1819
Within six months after the death of Kamehameha the Great in May of 1819, the chiefesses Keopuolani and Ka'ahumanu, surviving wives of Kamehameha I, publicly ate with the young chiefs Liholiho (then Kamehameh II) and his younger brother Kauikeaouli (not yet Kamehameha III), in defiance of the 'ai kapu, or sacred law against men and women eating together. This act of the chiefesses and young chiefs ushered in the 'ai noa, or "free eating," that eliminated the death penalty for criminal infractions by breakers of this law through execution on the heiau as human sacrifices.
This was not the first breach by the ali'i in customary law requiring capital punishment for breaking of the kapu akua. Human sacrifice as the moe-pu'u custom, a kind of "self-immolation," was required of the chief's closest companions in life as demonstration of loyalty to a king upon his death. It placed the strain of heroism on the ali'i to demonstrate to their peers and to their subjects that they were not afraid to die for their lords, although practicality would demand these heroic actions from those ranks nearest the king in age or those who had seen many wars, defeats and victories, with him. If none, however, volunteered within specific allowances of time, then the moe-pu'u death companions were forcibly taken from the community at will. In
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