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You might know Pele as the goddess of fire and volcanoes. But there are numerous other gods and goddesses in Hawaiian mythology. This article introduces you to the most important gods and goddesses and one of the most important spiritual concepts on the islands.
Hello everybody, welcome to the Science of Travel Blog – the blog that combines all things Earth, landscapes and travel destinations with Earth Science!
Thank you so much for being here! The blog article that you're about to read is taken out of the free online course about Hawai'i which is available on the online course platform EarthyUniversity. It is called the MĀLAMA (care for) Hawai'i Pre-Travel Course and the perfect introduction to the Hawaiian culture, history and language which equips you with the basic knowledge you need to start to form a strong connection to the Hawaiian people, so that you can travel sustainably and consciously and give back to the Hawaiian people. You can find more information here.
Now without further ado, let’s dive into today’s article: A 5-Minute Introduction To Hawai'i's Mythology.
Hawaiians lead a life very close to nature and therefore feel a deep connection to it. Hawaiians tried to explain everything with the existence of gods & goddesses.
Before I start to talk about the gods & goddesses with you: here is just a quick disclamer: What follows is only a very brief overview of Hawaii‘s mythology. There exist more gods and goddesses than mentioned. Hawaii‘s mythology is incredibly complex, confusing and easy to overlook. There is even some contradictory information. This is why, to be frank, I struggled to give you an more detailed overview. To explain and understand Hawaii‘s mythology better, it would be necessary to dive much deeper into it. A sensitive and important topic, rooted deeply in culture and traditions, deserves to be treated with great respect and told by experts. As I am no expert, I tried my best to give you the single most important, non-contradictory, easy to remember facts about Hawaiian mythology in this short summary. I also left out most family relations (who is the daughter/father/wife etc. to whom) in favor of simplicity. Due to these reasons, I also refrain from using pictures of the gods & goddesses off of the internet.
So, let’s start!
Another very important word in Hawaiian mythology and spirituality is „mana“. The Hawaiian Dictionary defines mana as „supernatural or divine power“. It is not a physical force or power. It is believed that mana is inside of every person or object. Even some places are ascribed mana power, for example the rim of Haleakala crater and the entire Island of Moloka'i.
After the Europeans arrival at the end of the 18th century and at the beginning of the 19th century, the Hawaiian’s natural religion had been taken the backseat, being replaced mainly by Christianity. As of this recording, there are approximately 63% Christians and 27% people are irreligious. There are 8% Buddhists and 2% of all people belong to the Islam, Hinduism and Judaism.
This is all I want to share with you about Hawaiian mythology and religion. This was a very brief introduction. If you wish to learn more about the legends and stories Hawaiians used to explain everything, I encourage you to dig deeper and even approach experts in this field.
Be kind and love nature,
About the author
Daniela is convinced that by gaining deep insights into planet Earth and travel destinations you’ll create meaningful, grounding and memorable life and travel experiences. She explains fundamental geological processes that form and shape landscapes and combines these insights with philosophical and philanthropical views in her online courses, articles, and newsletter. She holds two bachelor's degrees in geosciences (B.Sc.) and business administration with tourism (B.A.). She is the owner and founder of EarthyMe, EarthyUniversity and the Science of Travel blog and the Stories of Earth newsletter.
Image Credit: Katie Rodriguez on Unsplash