Discover the Myths and Legends of Hawaii

Things to do

Hawaii is rich with myths and legends, passed down by storytellers from generation to generation. From the flowers to the lava rocks, there is a story behind nearly everything here.

The legend of Lehua and Ohia

For example, do you know why you should never pluck the bright red lehua blossom from the ohia tree? Legend tells us of two young lovers – Ohia and Lehua. The Hawaiian fire goddess, Pele, wanted Ohia for herself, but when he refused her, Pele turned him into a tree. Lehua was heartbroken, and other gods felt sorrow for her, so they turned her into the beautiful lehua flower and placed her in the tree, so the lovers could stay together forever. Now, if you separate a blossom from the tree, legend says even clear, sunny skies will turn dark and rain as Lehua mourns her separation from Ohia.

The legend of Naupaka

Another favorite legend also involves two young lovers, Naupaka and Kaui, who were forbidden to marry. Upon their separation – one to the mountain, one to the beach – Naupaka took a flower from her hair and ripped it in half, giving one part of it to Kaui and keeping the other for herself. Today, you will find two varieties of the Naupaka plant, one growing near the sea, the other in the mountain, each blooming as half flowers. When placed together, they form a perfect flower. It is said that the lovers can be reunited when the two flowers are joined together after they have been picked.

Tales of the menehune

Children especially love the tales of the menehune, little people who live in Hawaii’s forests and valleys and hide from humans. It is said they completed incredible projects, like the Menehune Fish Pond and Menehune Ditch on Kauai. And if anything goes missing or something unexplained happens, just blame it on the menehune!

The curse of Pele

One of the most important tales to know is Pele’s curse, which says that visitors will suffer terrible luck if they take lava rock or sand from the island. There are countless stories of visitors sending these souvenirs back to Hawaii after bad luck followed them home. Better to be safe than sorry, so we recommend you leave the rocks and sand where you find them during your visit.

Tell us your favorite tale

These are just a few of Hawaii’s beautiful and intriguing tales … tell us your favorite story on our Facebook page!

Ready to write your own Hawaiian story?

Start planning your trip by visiting our website to find the perfect vacation rental, whether you’re looking for a cozy studio for two or a luxurious villa for a large group. Remember you can save 10% on your Hawaii vacation rental when you book directly with us – simply mention “Aloha Escape” when you make your reservation!

Find your perfect Hawaii vacation rental

Spread out and relax at this airy, spacious, three-bedroom, three-bath townhouse in Fairway Villas at the beautiful Waikoloa Beach Resort. The two-level home features a full kitchen, open concept living/dining area, a master suite, two additional bedrooms, plus a loft with sleeping and reading area! Outside, the wraparound lanai offers tropical views of the golf course and Kohala mountain.

Fairway Villas at Waikoloa Beach Resort

On property, enjoy the infinity pool, lava rock enclosed hot tub, open air fitness room, grilling area, and social room with library and games. Just a short stroll away are two shopping centers, with dining, shopping and entertainment options, as well as a family-friendly, white sand beach.

Traveling with a smaller group? We also have several lovely two-bedroom vacation homes available in Fairway Villas.

We hope to see you soon – a hui hou!

Images courtesy of David Eickoff, Makuahine Pa’i Ki’i and Joel.


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