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Hawaiian Mythology!

An in-depth look at Hawaiian folklore by Nina during Summer Camp :)

Nina Mondero

on 8 July 2014

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Transcript of Hawaiian Mythology!

Hawaiian Mythology!
By Nina :)

The Pantheon!
There are 4 Major gods:
Kane- the father of the living, the most important of the 4
Ku- the "creator"
Lono- the director of the elements
Kanaloa- controls the Underworld and ocean, close companion of Kane
Kanaloa- god of underworld, ruler of ocean
Other Mentionable Gods:
Pele- goddess of volcanoes and fire
Rangi- god of sky
Papa- goddess of earth
Haikili- god of thunder
Kamohoali'i- god of sharks
Nu'akea- goddess of milk
Paka'a- god of wind
Hina- goddess of moon
Pele- goddess of volcanoes and fire
Other Vocabulary:
Po- great void in time of darkness, before memory
Mana- spiritual energy inside everybody, you can gain and lose mana in everything you do
Nightmarchers- ghosts of Hawaiian warriors
Paliuli- equivalent of the Garden of Eden
La'ieikawai and twin La'ielohelohe- princesses who lived in Paliuli
Pele- goddess of volcanoes and fire
The Nightmarchers- ghosts of Hawaiian warriors
The Creation Story
In the Beginning, there was always 4 main gods (Kane, Ku, Lono, Kanaloa) who fought the power of Po (chaos).
By the power of the four, light was brought to Po. After this, Kane took a gourd and threw it high in the air where it broke in two. One piece curved into a bowl and became Sky. The seeds scattered and became stars. The remainder of the gourd fell down and became Earth.
Kane gave the sky to god, Rangi and the Earth to Rangi's love, Papa. To the god, Kanaloa, did Kane give the domain of the sea. To Ku, Kane gave the forests and to Lono he gave food and plants to eat.
Kane proclaimed he was going to create a great Chief to rule all of Earth. To prepare, he filled Earth with living things: caterpillars to make butterflies, eggs to make birds and fish.
Once Kane finished, he told the gods they must find the material to construct the Chief so they searched far and wide. One day, they found a mound of rich, red earth. Kane took the earth and fashioned a man from it, breathing life into it as he did so.
The man walked about and spoke. Kane was pleased. They called him Kumu-honua and proclaimed him the first son of Rangi Sky and Papa Earth. Afterwards, a woman was created. They called her Ke-ola-ku-honua.
The newly created pair was placed in a paradise called Paliuli. It was filled with everlasting waters that if you sprinkled it on the dead, they would be restored to life.
Kumu-honua and Ke-ola-ku-honua soon had a son, Wakea, and his wife, Lihau'ula. It is said that all priests and chiefs have descended from them.

Hina- the goddess of the moon
The Menehune were a mischievous group of small people, or dwarfs, who lived in the forests of Hawaii. They were said to be as big as 2 feet tall, or as tiny as the palm of your hand. They enjoyed dancing, singing, archery, and their favorite foods were bananas and fish.
The Menehune were known to use their magic arrows to pierce the heart of angry people, igniting their feelings of love instead. They also enjoyed cliff diving, according to local lore, and were excellent craftsmen. They were rarely seen be human eyes.
The Menehune used their great strength to build great temples and other structures throughout Hawaii. One famous creation is the Alekoko Fishpond that was built in only 1 night. It is said that the fishpond was built for a princess. The Menehune worked at night, so as not to be seen.
The Menehune warned everyone to not watch them at work. However, one night the princess and her brother snuck up after dark and watched the thousands of Menehune at work, only to fall asleep. At sunrise, the Menehune discovered them and turned them into twin stone pillars that can be seen today. Because of this, the Menehune didn't finish the fishpond and left two gaps in the wall. Many generations later, Chinese settlers filled the gaps, but the stonework that closed the gap was far worse to that of the mystical Menehune.
Even though the Menehune were said to have scattered when the first settlers arrived in Hawaii, some people still believe that the Menehune are always roaming the islands, carrying out tricks on people.
How Hawaiian Mythology shapes their culture
The Hula:
According to legend, the first hula occurred when Pele (goddess of fire and volcanoes) asked her sisters to entertain her. Only Pele's youngest sister, Hi'iaka obeyed. Hi'iaka performed a graceful dance for Pele. Today, the Hula is an art form and significant practice that embraces and perpetuates Hawaiian history, legend, and culture.
Aia la o Pele
(Pele is at Hawaii)
Today, Hawaiian elders still sing a traditional chant, Aia la o Pele. It describes Pele (goddess of volcanoes and fire) as the Hawaiians saw her, a beautiful creator. It expressed their love for her and for the land that they lived on.
Aia lä `o Pele i Hawai`i, `eä
Ke ha`a mai la i Maukele, `eä
`Ühï`ühä mai ana, `eä
Ke nome a`e la i`ä Puna, `eä
Ka mea nani ka i Paliuli, `eä
Ke pulelo a`e la i nä pali,`eä
Aia ka palena i Maui, `eä
`Äina o Kaululä`au, `eä
I hea käua e la`i ai, `eä
I ke alanui a`e li`a nei, `eä
Ha`ina `ia mai ka puana, `eä
No Hi`iaka nö he inoa, `eä
Pele is at Hawai`i
She is dancing at Maukele
She surges and puffs this way
Devouring the land of Puna
It makes Paliuli beautiful
Fire tongues leaping at the cliffs
It is heard at Maui
Land of Kaulula`au
Where will we find peace?
Oh, how we yearn on the road
The end of my song
A name song for Hi`iaka
Hawaiian Mythology's View On...
Death and Dreams
Hawaiians believe that the soul is very separate from the body, that it almost has its own life. They think that when you die, your soul goes to the Underworld but your body stays on Earth. Also, when you dream, your body sleeps but your soul drifts though space. However, Hawaiians believe that if your soul drifts too far, it could be captured and prevented from returning to its body. So some people perform ancient rituals where they place a wreath around your head, not allowing that person to dream.
Happiness and Success
Here's a myth to explain what not to do to be happy/successful
The Greedy Chief Hala'ea
There once was a greedy chief named Hala'ea. Every day, the local fishermen would set off in the early morning to go to work. They worked very hard to get the fish to their families. But every evening when they returned to shore, the chief demanded to give him all their fish that they had caught. Then he would hold a feast, wasting the food with no regrets. As for the hardworking fishermen, they had to return home to their families with nothing for them to eat.
Eventually, the people decided that they could not let the chief continue to help himself to all their fish, so they came up with a plan to rid themselves of this misery. It was the fishing season of 'ahi (yellowfin tuna), and one morning the fishermen woke up early to prepare their canoes for their sneaky expedition.
Then they paddled out to sea, much earlier than usual and started to fish. They returned that evening and again, the greedy chief shouted to give them the fish. The fishermen obeyed and separated the canoes so that they were on both sides of the chief's canoe and began dumping the fish inside. The chief was so overcome by the large amount of fish that he didn't even notice the men poking holes in his canoe and it was beginning to sink!
When the fisherman unloaded all their fish, they quickly paddled away without looking back. By the time Hala'ea saw that he was sinking, it was too late. He looked for help, but nobody was there. Some say that the chief was lost under the waves. Others claim that he was swept away from the current that carried his name, Hala'ea. Nonetheless, the chief perished and the fishermen rejoiced and lived long happy lives eating all their fish.
Fun Facts!
Don't take the lava rock home with you!
Every stone in Hawaii belongs to Pele (goddess of volcanoes and fire). If you go to Hawaii, you better not take a rock home because you will have (dun dun dun!) Pele's Curse! Pele will unleash her wrath by sending you loads of bad luck. So don't take anything! Besides, it's illegal!
Be careful if you plan on doing any night hikes or midnight beach strolls!
The night marchers are ghosts of ancient Hawaiian warriors and they're said to roam the islands at night visiting old battlefields and sacred sites. If you hear chanting, drums or marching, you're best bet is to run indoors or to lie quietly on your stomach -- if you make eye contact with the night marchers, you'll die and be forced to march with them for all of eternity. If you happen to have an ancestor marching, however, no one in the procession can harm you.
Go look for the Naupaka flower!
The naupaka is one of Hawaii's most common plants. Observers may notice that the flowers appear to have been torn in half. According to Hawaiian legend, Naupaka was a beautiful princess who fell in love with a commoner named Kauai. The star-crossed lovers could never marry so Naupaka vowed to stay in the mountains while Kauai remained along the ocean. Before parting for the very last time, Naupaka took the flower from her hair and tore it in half, giving it to Kauai. The very next day the nearby plants began to bloom only half flowers in honor of the separated lovers.
Wait! Don't leave! Remember these five things and i will be happy :)
1.) There are four major gods
2.) Man was created in Kane's image
Play us Out!
3.) The first man was named Kumu-honau
5.) The Hula was influenced by Hawaiian Mythology
4.) All chiefs and priests are said to be descendants of Rangi (sky) and Papa (earth)
Haikili- god of thunder
Wait! One more thing...
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