Hawaii Fact or Legend

As with any culture, Hawaii’s story is woven with legend and history, fact and fiction, here are some thoughts for you today.

Facts:

  • The windward (eastern) side of the islands face the winds and the leeward (west) side faces away from the wind, protected by hills and mountains, hence the windward side of each island in the Hawaiian archipelago is wetter and lusher, by example Hilo on Hawaii’s Big Island and Hana in Maui.
  • Haleakala and Kahalawai colloquially referred to as the West Maui Mountains are Maui’s two volcanos, with Maui named “The Valley Isle” the isthmus where the two volcanoes converge.
  • The eighth island is Ni’ihau, the only place in the world where Hawaiian is the first language spoken
  • Las Vegas is known as “the ninth island” – locals love Las Vegas!
  • Mongoose are diurnal, native to India, yet they were introduced to Maui in 1883 by the sugar industry in an effort to control the rat population in the cane fields with the slight miscalculation, rats are nocturnal.
  • The Hawaiian word “Pono” translates as the universal principle to do the right thing.  It is embedded in the Hawaiian state motto, Ua May Ke Ea o ka ina I ka Pono, “the life of the land is perpetuated in righteousness.”
  • Hawaii has just a single area code, (808), and is therefore commonly referred to as the 808 state, and you’ll know the familiar phrase “Hawaii 5-0” from which we have our own television hit series, this was born from Hawaii being the 50th state, gaining statehood on August 21, 1959.
  • No daylight savings time in Hawaii, fact.  Our clocks never change.
  • No snakes in Hawaii, fact.  Recorded incidents of the presence of snakes are only by illegal smuggling which bears a heavy penalty.

Myth?

It is bad luck to take volcanic rock or sand from Hawaii.  Legendary Goddess Pele, pronounced peh-leh, the goddess of fire, lightning, wind, dance, and volcanoes, it is said, exacts her revenge upon the thief.

via mauiwatch.com

Fact:
* the post office reportedly receives hundreds of pounds of rocks each year by mail!

Pele’s home is believed to be Halemaumau Crater at the summit of Kilauea, one of the world’s most active volcanoes.  Although it is prohibited to take lava rock from any of Hawaii’s national parks the story of Pele’s vengeance was apparently made up by a park ranger to be a deterrent to people helping themselves to the volcanic rock as a souvenir of their visit.

When I was a young girl living in Honolulu, my sister Tina had a field trip with school to the Big Island where she collected “Pele’s tears” which are small teardrop-shaped volcanic fragments.  She returned home with her token bounty.  Was it coincidence or Pele’s revenge that within the week of my sisters’ return home our house was burgled?  As an impressionable young girl of 12, who just had all her birthday presents stolen, I believed the legend.  And therein my respect for the vengeful Pele was born and firmly rooted.  My sister shortly after that event sent Pele’s tears back to Volcano National Park to undo the “curse.”

Myth or confirmation bias? Whatever it may be, the volume of incoming rocks by mail seems to favor the legend.  As a Concierge, I witnessed this first hand, shoe boxes filled with rocks and coral shipped back with the anonymous plea, “please return to the land!”

Fact.  Lava rocks that are taken from Maui County (Maui, Lana’i or Molokai can be returned to Haleakala National Park at P.O. Box 369, Makawao, Hawaii 96768-0369.

You may also send your rocks with a donation and have the rocks returned and a blessing placed over you.

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