A legend is defined as being a narrative of folklore;  of long-gone incidents spoken of by those older and told to those up and coming. Some are words of warning, and some simply tell the meaning of times past, which we may now take for granted.

The origins, whether as a method of teaching morality, or to educate on the past, don’t matter but one thing is for certain, they are a historical record still holding fascination even today.

If we are open to the local legends, we will learn more about our own pasts, and the stories of our forefathers…. whether we want to or not.

So, step inside gentle folks. What you are about to learn may teach you, or even frighten you just a little, but most definitely make you love Hawaii even more.

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The Night Marchers

Ancient Hawaiian warriors fated to roam the islands searching for their next battle says the legend of the Night Marchers.

Moving to the sound of primitive drums, these ghostly apparitions are said to be looking for new recruits and seeking out their unclaimed territories, or previously lost territories in past wars.

Some say they are looking for an exit into the next world.

Many locals believe in these lost spirits and show their respect with their silence and solitude on observing them. They are not looking to harm.

Where Can They Be Seen? :  Nu'uanu Pali Lookout, Ka'a'awa Valley, and Kalihi Valley on Oahu are sites of Night Marcher. Also, Kaunakakai on Molokai is said to be a popular Night Marcher haunt.(yep, said it)

What Should I Do? : If you happen to see one of the ghostly marches be sure not to interrupt them. They don’t like that. And most certainly do not seek their gaze. It has been said that an unpleasant fate awaits those who lock eyes.

Take Heed of the Menehune

The Menehune people are described as the first indigenous people of the Hawaiian Islands. They lived here long before the Polynesian people came to inhabit and create their home between the forests and the oceans.

Their stories tell of hand-made canoes, roads, houses, and even temples, and were considered superb woodworkers and craftspeople.

Legend tells us that the Menehune who were incidentally told to be around three feet in stature, were asked to build the Kauai’s Alekoko fishpond…and did so in a single night. To put this into perspective, this fishpond is contracted from a lava rock wall over 900 feet long and five feet wide.

Quite a feat of engineering.

This treasure of Hawaiian history exists even today and is now featured in the National Register of Historic Places.

Today the Menehune people are believed to still live hidden in the forests and valleys of Hawaii’s islands.

Myth or legend. You decide.

Where Can They Be Seen? : Structures attributed to the Menehune

Menehune Fishpond wall at Niumalu, Kauaʻi.

Kīkīaola ditch at Waimea, Kauaʻi

What Should I Do?: Take a tour to see their handy work

The Wrath of Pele

Pele, Hawaii’s Goddess of fire and volcanoes is not to be messed with.

The legend of Pele says that a curse shall be placed on anyone who dares take a native piece of rock or sand from the sacred islands of Hawaii. She viewed all things as her children and would punish those who offended.

Pele had many encounters with her fellow legends, and they did not fare very well due to her temper and belief that she was the greater power.

Pele’s home Mount Kilauea is one of the most active volcanoes and it is there that she watches.

Tour guides have told concerned tourists that there is no basis in Hawaiian culture for a “curse”, but most aren’t taking any chances.

Where Can They Be Seen? : Take a visit to Mount Kilauea

What Should I Do? : Don’t anger her by taking rocks

The Legend of the Hog God

This is one for the ladies.

Kama Pua’a was a powerful chief in Hawaiian history. He was also a monster, a hog God with powers beyond anyone’s belief.

According to Hawaiian tales, he was a shapeshifter who could command the water and the rain to obey his every word.

One day, he ventured into the home of Pele, the Fire Goddess. They were soon in love and married, but Pele could not stand Kama Pua’as hoggish ways.

Their fights became worse, and both called upon resources to out the other. Pele sent lava, and KamaPua’a called for the oceans to rise and create havoc.

Kama Pua’a was no match for Pele and legend has it that he turned himself into a fish.

The fish called the Reef Triggerfish (humuhumunukunukuapua’a) is today known for its grunting sound.

That’ll teach him to mess with Pele.

Where Can They Be Seen? : The Reef Triggerfish is Hawaii’s state fish. Say hi to the Hog God if you see him

What Should I Do? : Don’t mention Pele

Behold, The Hawaiian Honu

Everyone knows how majestic the sea turtle is. As a favorite among Hawaiian divers, the “honu” is considered a form of ancestral spirit (aumakua). The beautiful sea creature is said to offer guidance, wisdom, and lifelong protection.

The Honu is a part, of course, of the eternal mythology Hawaii has between man, land, and sea.

One of the legends of the Honu is that of a female transforming herself into a human child to play with the local kids. She also served as a protector for those children playing along the shores of Punalu’u.

Even today the green sea turtles are depicted in modern-day paintings and drawings, ensuring this animal and its history are never forgotten.

Now, next time you see a Honu, you’ll be certain to think of its historical and legendary status.

Where Can They Be Seen? : Snorkeling at  Kahalu'u on the Big Island of Hawaii, you will surely see one

What Should I Do? : Look but don’t touch

There are many Hawaiian legends, of which these are just a few.

Tours offer a chance to go in-depth with more information and stories in their complete form.

Some are more frightening than others, and some still hold true to the Hawaiian belief system today.

We can take from them what we will, hopefully, be stronger in having more knowledge and understanding of these Islands.

We need to celebrate the past to better understand our forebears. Only with this understanding of the past can we welcome the future.

For Hawaii, legends are as mystical as they are historical.

Take time out on your next visit to learn more about the legends where you’re staying and their significance in daily life.

It is something you will take with you everywhere.

When you are ready, so are we. Let us show you the best Hawaii has to offer. From stunning sunsets to unforgettable forests and plant life, Plan, book, pack and go to Hawaii today.

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