Another Localism Featured Post!......By Celeste "Sally" Cheeseman
The Hawaiian people and many different ethnic groups living in Hawaii are highly superstitious and believe in the spirits of their ancestors who walked the lands of our islands. The history of Hawaii tells of our great warriors in battle and traveling along the paths along the ridges of mountains and valleys between them to get to the ocean. They are called the "Night Marchers". They can be seen carrying torches to light their way along places where there were battlefields as well.
I have been a resident of Hawaii since 1967 and I have lived the majority of my life on Oahu in Mililani although I have also lived in Waipahu, Pearlridge and in Waipio Gentry. While residing in Pearlridge (from 2002-2005) I really started researching the area because we lived on the top of the mountain (along Onikiniki Ridge and hiking trail) and half the land was Restricted Preservation land. Our home sat between two valleys and mountains. I JUST KNEW that this had to be some kind of pathway of the Hawaiian Warriors to the ocean. I was right!
We had someone come "bless" our home immediately after moving in and he told us this was the direct path of the the Chief leading his warriors down to the ocean. I was wondering why late at night I could hear the faint beating of drums. He chanted and dipped ti leaves in blessed water all over our house. He also told us if we are going to throw any branches and leaves from yard work into the valley to ask permission first. Do not throw trash that will not go back into the land! So much to consider!
As you know, the islands have very little buildable land because a lot of it is State and Government owned and zoned Restricted Preservation and Conservation which I wrote about in Hawaii (Oahu) Zoning, Special Use and Building Permits. Well, the majority of our burial sites were unmarked graves and there are also "Heiau's" (burial sites surrounded and marked with stones) that were preserved all over our islands as well. So. Guaranteed we are on all kinds of burial grounds.
With that in mind.....whenever construction or digging occurs and they find remains or bones...BY LAW...all work ceases and they are required to call in archeologists and Burial Council Officials to inspect the remains. Construction has been known to be halted for quite some time until they can relocate the bones to a proper burial place.
Bottom line. We follow certain "rules" so as not to upset the spirits such as:
- Misfortune will befall anyone who takes away lava rocks from the volcanoes (Pele-the demigod creates and destroys with fire...duh. Volcano eruptions...lava flows) Many tourists have actually mailed them back after bad luck bestowed them!
- Leave everything you find in Hawaii...in Hawaii. (better safe than sorry!)
- To not carry pork over the Pali Highway (King Kamehameha lead his warriors over the Pali in 1795 and also Pele had a turbulent relationship with the demigod Kamapua‘ -a half-man-half-pig- and the two agreed not to visit each other. If you take pork over the Pali, you are taking a piece of Kamapua‘a from one side to the other, and Pele would stop that from happening. Your car stops, breaks down.
- Bachi-Japanese term for "bad luck". What goes around comes around and if you abuse someone else's spirit or soul negative consequences will become you. If you hand out good you get it back as well.
- Every bad occurence comes in threes. This actually happened to me about 12 years ago. Within one month I almost got hit by a car...the person I was with grabbed by arm and pulled me out of the way. Two days later at the same spot there was a dead cat that looked like my tabby cat. (it wasn't). Two days after that....one block down on the same street I was a pedestrian on the sidewalk (waiting for the walk light to change) and I was hit by a drunk driver that hit the gas instead of the brake. Severely hurt and took me many months to recuperate.
- Feng Shui (pronounced fung shway) is a discipline and a way of arranging structures according to rules of the environment. Example: I will position by bed so my feet are not facing the door. My back is not faced to the door when I am sitting at my desk. If you face your back or feet to the door it will allow the negative forces to enter through you. I have a little book for placement of furniture in the home, colors in the home etc. I don't know a whole lot but Chinese sure do!
These are just a few examples of the Hawaiian folklore, legends and superstions as well as a couple of other oriental ones. There are so many here because of many ethnic groups and culture that make up our local population here. It is interesting, mysterious and mind boggling. But will you take the chance of upsetting the spirits?
Couple of other articles to read that may interest you as well as the virtual tour of Hawaii! Enjoy!