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Hawaiian Superstitions


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#1 aloha_spirit

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Posted 03 August 2005 - 11:36 AM

In Hawaii, we have tons of superstitions, so I thought I'd share a few.

It is believed that ti leafs protect against evil obake (ghosts and other things thatgo bump in the night). Each variety of ti leaf repels a diferent type of evil spirit. That's why most yards in Hawaii have several different color ti leaf plants. My own father has over 60 varieties in our yard, but he claims it's for their beauty. As an aside, I never had any ghostly encounters in that house.

The Hawaiian Islands were formed but volcanoes. This resulted in many pali (cliffs) where ferns grow. It is said that if you pick a fern off a pali, it will start to rain within 5 minutes - regardless of the curent weather.

Finally, each family normally has what's known as a money tree. This shrub (which can grow into a tree) has multiple leaves on the same shoot. Legend has it, the more leaves on the same shoot, the more good fortune is headed your way. 3 or 4 leaves are common while 7 or 8 are spectacular. Local greenhouses sell a special blend of fertilizer to promote leaf growth. The money tree is also known as an octopus tree.

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#2 no1plumbrr

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Posted 03 August 2005 - 11:39 AM

thats cool aloha , i need a money tree in a bad way lol
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#3 aloha_spirit

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Posted 03 August 2005 - 11:48 AM

Here's a good link to see a money tree:
http://plantoasis.co..._schefflera.htm.

You should find them (as well as ti leaves) in local greenhouses as house plants.

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#4 bathory313

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Posted 06 August 2005 - 02:00 AM

:Wall: Isn't there a superstition about carrying raw pork in your car down a certain highway? Just read about it, darn it! And don't carry any lava home or Madame Pele will get upset with you? If you see Madame Pele, offer her some food/drink? And why do I know so much about Hawaiian superstitions, anyhoo? LOL :)
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#5 aloha_spirit

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Posted 06 August 2005 - 09:11 AM

I forget the name of the god of O'ahu, but his physical manifestation was that of a pig. There was a huge fight between him and Pele (the fire goddess). Eventually a truce was drawn: Pele would get the leeward side of the island (South Shore / Honolulu) and the other god got the windward side (North Shore). Whenever pork crosses from the Windward side to the Leeward (especially through the old Pali Tunnel) weird things happen like your car going out of control.

Madame Pele has two physical manifestations: a young woman or an old crone. She often will hitch hike wearing a white mu'umu'u. If you stop and offer her a ride, she will disappear as you're driving, but good luck will follow as you've shown the aloha spirit. If you drive past, your car will stall and you'll have bad luck.

Since Madame Pele controls the volcanoes, it is not uncommon to throw a bottle of rum (her favorite drink) on an advancing lava flow to calm her anger. Pele also has a soft spot for a certain berry that grows near her home of Halemaumau.

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#6 bathory313

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Posted 08 August 2005 - 02:56 AM

Thanks for the info! I always did like the legends about Madam Pele! :angry:
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#7 aloha_spirit

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Posted 08 August 2005 - 02:27 PM

The superstition about lava rocks is mostly false. Hawaiians do believe that some rocks carry mana (power), but not all do.

During the 1960s, tourists to Volcano National Park were taking home too many rocks as souvineers, so the Park Service started an urban legend that removing lava rocks from the Islands would incite the wrath of Pele upon them. Tourists believed the story so much that weird things actully started happening and tourists were sending back the rocks and small bottles of alcohol for Madame Pele. Today, the Park Service receives almost a ton of rock each year. They wrap each rock in a ti leaf and place them near a heiau (temple) much the same way the natives would.

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#8 BigBraddah

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Posted 04 December 2010 - 12:18 AM

The superstition about lava rocks is mostly false. Hawaiians do believe that some rocks carry mana (power), but not all do.

The superstition is false because and only because it is not a superstition. that is a judgement by mainlanders/haoles (foreigners). Hawaiians respect the domain of Pele and that means leaving all pohaku alone. We respect the 'aina. the kai, the wai. the source of our food. The domain of the gods is sacred in ancient days and it remains so, notwithstanding the influx of westerners watering down the local culture.
We do not take from Pele. Once a heiau is constructed, it is untouched.
Most everything has mana.

No local would utter this:
"In Hawaii, we have tons of superstitions, "
that is not pono.

#9 Cryscat

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Posted 05 December 2010 - 04:17 PM

Here's a good link to see a money tree:
http://plantoasis.co..._schefflera.htm.

You should find them (as well as ti leaves) in local greenhouses as house plants.



So that's what that plant is called. I have one and had no clue what it was! It starting as a cutting and has taken off and really grown. Thanks for posting that link!
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#10 aloha_spirit

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Posted 06 December 2010 - 12:26 AM

The superstition about lava rocks is mostly false. Hawaiians do believe that some rocks carry mana (power), but not all do.

The superstition is false because and only because it is not a superstition. that is a judgement by mainlanders/haoles (foreigners). Hawaiians respect the domain of Pele and that means leaving all pohaku alone. We respect the 'aina. the kai, the wai. the source of our food. The domain of the gods is sacred in ancient days and it remains so, notwithstanding the influx of westerners watering down the local culture.
We do not take from Pele. Once a heiau is constructed, it is untouched.
Most everything has mana.

No local would utter this:
"In Hawaii, we have tons of superstitions, "
that is not pono.


Eh, brah, welcome to our village. You wen misunderstand my remarks about the lava rocks. I stay talking about da kine on the lava fields, not the ones already used in one heiau. It was the rangers at Volcanoes that started the story that taking lava rocks brought bad luck.

Pono or not, superstition is the best word for it. Speaking anthropologically religion is superstition. I don't mean that as derogatory. I'm a very religious person. I am strong in my Christian faith and respect (but not worship) Pele, Ku, Lono, and the amakua. Growing up, I camped in Pine Forest, flushed myself down Toilet Bowl, even dared to stray into the outer reaches of the Nuuanu Valley. My own parents have seen Pele as a lady in white hitching a ride on Kamehameha Highway near Waihole.

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