a Halau -
Facts on Hawaii
A few of the most famous and colourful mythical characters are listed below. Each represents
an aspect of the Hawaiian culture and life.
Prior to the arrival of the missionaries in 1820, Hawaiians believed in many gods. A Hawaiian chant,
the Kumulipo which consists of 2102 lines, links the royal families to the gods.
The four main gods were Kane, Ku, Lono and Kanaloa. Demi-gods included Pele and many others.
Kane was the god of sunlight, fresh water, and natural life. Ku was the god of war and the male
generating power. Lono was the god of peace, fertility, winds, rain and sports. Kanaloa was god of
the ocean; Pele, the goddess of fire. The complexities of the relationships between all Hawaiian gods
are explained in many legends.
Each Hawaiian family had its own aumakua (personal god) which protected them. For some it was
the shark, others the pig, and so on. It was thought that spirits could communicate to the living
through dreams and often appeared in the form of the family's aumakua.
The Hawaiians built many heiau (temples) and placed offerings on specially constructed altar-like
towers. Most offerings were edible and wrapped in ti leaves to keep the evil spirits away. Human sacrifice did occur but was not common. It was
reserved for the war god Ku.
The Hawaiian religion was greatly altered by the missionaries, yet strong beliefs did not die. In
modern times a Hawaiian priest may bless a ground-breaking ceremony with a combination of
Hawaiian chants and Christian prayers. The spirit of old Hawaii lives on.
Kamapua'a - The Hog God
Maui - The time shifter
Menehune - Good fairies
Poliahu - Goddess of snowy Mauna Kea and a rival to Pele.
Kapo and Laka - Pele's sisters
- a spirit of fertility and sorcery, as well as a spirit of
- Keeper of the water of life
- keeper of the sacred fire sticks
Ka-poho-i-kahi-ola - Spirit of explosions
- Spirit of the rain of fire.
Kane-hekili - Sprit of thunder.
Ke-o-ahi-kama-kaua - Spirit of lava fountains