In Hawaii, we can all agree that we have tons of superstitions, and they go way beyond broken mirrors and black cats. In a society with a thriving blend of cultures – food, drink, language and fashion – also comes a variety of legends and superstitions.
In honor of fall and the Halloween spirit, let’s take a look at some of Hawaii’s most ingrained legends, traditions and superstitions.
Pele the Volcano Goddess: Pele’s influence is everywhere in Hawaii. According to local legends, if you see a beautiful woman with long hair or an older woman with white hair, you must greet her with “aloha” and offer her help or respite, which will leave you with good luck and harvest. Another myth including Pele is that you can’t take pork across the Pali Highway, which connects Honolulu with the Windward side of Oahu. As a result of Pele’s past turbulent relationship with Kamapua’a, her hog faced demigod lover, pork is seen as carrying a part of Kamapua’a into Pele’s domain. If found carrying pork across the Highway, it is rumored that your car will breakdown or a woman with a dog will appear and you must feed the dog your pork before you may continue across the Highway.
The Night Marchers: Beware if you plan on doing any night hikes or midnight strolls. The Huaka’ipo, known as the Night Marchers, are ghosts of ancient Hawaiian warriors and they are said to roam the islands at night visiting old battlefields and sacred sights. If you hear chanting, drums or marching, your best bet is to hurry indoors or lie quietly on your stomach, avoiding any eye contact with the marchers and showing your respect.
The Green Lady of Wahiawa: The common backstory for the Green Lady is that there was once a woman who visited the Wahiawa gulch with her children. While there, one of her children got lost and was never found. The woman is said to still roam the Wahiawa area looking for her lost child. The Green Lady is said to be seen around the Wahiawa Botanical Garden but has also been spotted at the Wahiawa Elementary School.
Aside from these local legends, there are many other Hawaiian superstitions, such as:
- Don’t whistle at night – you’ll summon the Huaka’ipo (Night Marchers)
- If you are traveling around with pork always have ti leaf with you – pork attracts angry spirits and ti leaf will protect you
- Don’t wear shoes in the house – it will bring in bad luck
- Don’t point at graveyards or tombstones – spirits will latch onto you
- Don’t cut plants at night – it will also attract the spirits
- Don’t pluck the Red Lehua Blossom – dates back to a legend of two lovers, Lehua and Ohia, who should not be separated.
- Don’t bring bananas on a boat – it brings bad luck and no fish
- Don’t leave chopsticks standing straight up in a bowl of rice – it is bad luck
- Don’t cut your nails at night – more bad luck
- If you pick a fern off the Pali it will rain in five minutes – doesn’t matter what the current conditions are
Any other Hawaiian traditions, superstitions or legends that were passed down to you or your family? We’d love to hear them in the comments!