October 27, 2016
Hawaiian culture is filled with tradition and legends rooted in nature. Pele, the goddess of fire and volcanoes, plays a role in many of these stories. This October, instead of spooky stories of Hawaiian lore I have decided to share with you some of my favorite Hawaiian legends. Enjoy!
The Legend of Ohea
If you’ve visited new lava flows, it’s likely you’ve seen the Ohia tree and its bright red Lehua blossoms. Ohia trees are among the first plants to grow in lava flow areas. It might be tempting to pick the blossom but I urge you not to do that.
The Ohia Tree legend holds that when Ohia and Lehua were lovers, volcano goddess Pele noticed Ohia and wanted him for herself. And who wouldn’t; he was handsome warrior.
When Ohia refused Pele’s affection, she twisted him into an ugly tree.
The beautiful Lehua begged for Ohia to be changed back to his former self but Pele refused. The other gods tried but were unsuccessful. Ultimately they changed Lehua into the red flower on the Ohia tree so the young lovers would never be separated again.
When you pick a flower, it’s is said to rain Lehua’s tears of being separated from her lover.
Laie Point – Legend of the Mo’o
If you’re on the North Shore of Oahu, take time to visit Laie Point. Laniloa is the point that juts out into the ocean. Legend holds that Laniloa was patrolled by a giant lizard, or Mo’o, who killed anyone who passed by.
The warrior Kana and his brother rescued their mother from Molokai, returned her to the island of Hawaii. It was their intention to then kill all of the Mo’o on the islands. By the time Kana reached Laie, the Mo’o had killed many villagers and people were scared.
Kana easily slayed the Mo’o from Laniloa, chopping it into five pieces. These five pieces were flung into the ocean and are the small islands that can be seen from shore. They’re known as Kihewamoku, Moku’auia, Pulemoku, Kukuiho’olua, and Mokualai.
Kukuiho’olua is the island seen farthest to the left of Laie Point. You can see a large puka or hole in it, the result of the 1946 tsunami that created a rock bridge visitors now enjoy.
Visit the eastern tip of Oahu and you can see the volcano goddess Pele’s chair in an appropriate place – the middle of a lava field. Once an active volcano, the area is now a paved hiking path at Makapu’u point. It is thought that Pele left from this spot to complete her work on the other islands.
As you head back down the trailhead, it’s a good idea to leave a food offering at Pele’s Chair as is customary in Hawaiian culture. You are may even be prevent a volcano from erupting with this pleasing offering to the goddess of fire and volcanoes.
Depart from Pele’s Chair to a blue lagoon filled with colorful sea life or continue down the path to Makapu’u lighthouse where you have views of Oahu’s eastern coast complete with white sand beaches and sunsets like you’ve never experienced. You can tell that I love the vibrant colors of a Hawaiian sunset!
Whether you’re hiking on the trails, sticking your toes in the white sand beaches, or leaving offerings for Pele, there is much to learn and enjoy in Hawaii. Aloha!
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