Folklore in Hawaii

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Folklore in Hawaii in modern times is a mixture of various aspects of Hawaiian mythology and various urban legends that have been passed on regarding various places in the Hawaiian islands. The following is a partial list of some of these legends.

Ancient Hawaiian folklore[edit]

Night marchers[edit]

According to Hawaiian legend, night marchers (huaka‘i po in Hawaiian) are ghosts of ancient warriors. They supposedly roam large sections of the island chain, and can be seen by groups of torches. They can usually be found in areas that were once large battlefields (the Nuuanu Pali on the island of Oahu is a good example.) Legend has it that if you look a night marcher straight in the eye, you will be forced to walk among them for eternity, but if you have a relative taken by them, you will be spared. Hawaiians say that in the presence of night marchers, one should lie down on their stomach, face down to avoid eye contact, stay quiet, breathe shallowly, and don’t move. Some say that they may nudge you to provoke a reaction so they can take you. Moanalua Gardens is one of the many places the Night Marchers are said to roam.

Carrying pork over the Nuuanu Pali[edit]

Local folklore on the island of Oahu says that one should never carry pork over the Pali Highway connecting Honolulu and Windward Oahu. The stories vary, but the classic legend is that if one carries pork of any kind over the old Pali road (not the modern pali highway) by automobile, the automobile would stop at a certain point on the way and not restart until the pork is removed from the vehicle.

  • Some versions of the story require the pork to be raw; other versions say that this happens after dark.
  • In some versions, a white dog or an old woman in a holuku will appear at the time the automobile stalls, and you must feed the pork to the dog to proceed.

This legend has its roots in ancient Hawaiian mythology. According to legend, the Hawaiian volcano goddess Pele and the demigod Kamapua‘a (a half-man-half-pig) had a turbulent relationship, and the two agreed not to visit each other. If one takes pork over the Pali, the legend goes, one is symbolically taking a piece of Kamapua‘a from one side to the other, and it is said that Pele would stop that from happening.

Alternately, the legend is attributed to a magic dog, which was killed and cooked and put in an 'umeke to be carried over the pali and given as a gift to the mother/wife of the perpetrator. Women did not eat pork in ancient Hawaii, but were allowed to eat dog. The dog's owner followed and called to the dog, which came alive, answered from within the 'umeke, causing the carrier to drop his pole and flee. The dog then returns to its master. A dog as food was offensive to the American missionaries, and under their influence, the dog meat in the story became pork. The Pele/Kamapua'a stories were adapted to make the story fit, the old lady in the white holoku is also Pele, but that too was corrupted from other tales.

Modern urban legends[edit]

Paradise Park/Manoa Falls Hiking Trail[edit]

You can apparently hear a spectre/banshee screaming while walking along the path. Paradise Park is the never discarded name of the bird show/exhibit that was located there in the past. It was abandoned for an unknown reason. If one goes to the side of the parking lot you will see the overgrown ruins of a nursery. Behind this is a covered walkway twisting its way through dilapitated cages and building, some still bearing signs telling what kind of bird was housed there. On one side of these buildings is a small hut with a statuette of the Virgin Mary, and a Portuguese stone oven. There is also a Japanese pagoda. There are no records of cultural exhibits at Paradise Park, so the purpose of these buildings remains a mystery.

Events in Waialae and Kahala[edit]

At one time, the land that is now subdivisions in Waialae and Kahala Mall in eastern Honolulu were once the site of a graveyard. Since that time, two known events have occurred there.

The Mujina[edit]

The Green Lady[edit]

The story of the green lady is that of a woman who would visit the gulch of Wahiawa, which also contains the Wahiawa Botanical Garden, with her children.[1] One day while visiting one of her children became lost and was never found. The story goes that she still wanders the gulch looking for her child, or children, and will take any child that she comes across in the gulch. There have been several reports of seeing a green woman covered in moss or mold wandering the gulch. Others say that the green woman closely resembles that of a Japanese mythological creature called the kappa. This creature is said to resemble a turtle-like humanoid that steals children to feast upon. The last known sighting was said to have happened in the mid to late 1980s. In modern times, children and teenagers dare each other to run across the bridge that runs over the gulch at night. Most speculators say that this story was made up to keep children from wandering into the gulch by themselves.[2]

See also[edit]