Tag Archives: Hawaii

Night Marchers

Title: Night Marchers Superstitions

General Information about Item:

  • Genre and sub-genre: Customary and Verbal folklore: Superstition and homeopathic magic
  • Language: Hawaiian/English
  • Country: United States
  • Informant: Tania Mahealani
  • Date Collected: September 28th, 2017

Informant Data:

  • Informant name: Tania Mahealani
  • Dartmouth class of 2021
  • 18 years old
  • Has lived on big island, Hawaii, all of her life.
  • The elders in her family have always placed great importance on maintaining their Hawaiian culture.

Contextual Data:

  • Social Context: The Hawaiian society is highly social and personal. The family unit and looking out for one another firm backbones of the philosophical beliefs of many people on the island. This has resulted in a strong community that cultivates and places great importance on its heritage and traditions. These superstitions would be told to children to freighter them.
  • Cultural Context: Nature and history are deeply rooted into Hawaiian culture. The Hawaiian people put significant value on the role of ancestors and mother nature in day to day life. A majority of these cultural tendencies are passed down generationally through oral traditions. The lore is then integrated into all facets of life on the islands including education, religion, politics, and more.

Item:

  • Superstition: Do not whistle at night.
    • If you do the Night Marchers may hear you and come attack you.
  • Superstition: Beware of trails through the forest
    • If you are not careful

Backgrounds of superstitions: The Night Marchers are a group of ancient Hawaiian warriors who patrol the islands of Hawaii after sundown. If they come across you at night they will attack you, unless you take off all of your clothes and kneel on the ground. It is possible that you may be spared if you are Hawaiian and one of your ancestors is among the warriors and recognizes you. They carry an array of weapons including spears, swords and maces, however, their eyes are just as dangerous. If you make eye contact you have to march with them forever. They are often seen near ancient Hawaiian burial grounds and near holidays. However, you must be careful when you are walking through the forest if you find a path. This path could be a Z-Trail, which is a path that the Night Marchers patrol.

Collector: Michael McGovern

Tags/Keywords: Night Marcher, Z-train, night, Hawaii, tradition, warriors, superstition

 

 

Chants

Title: Chants

General Information about Item:

  • Genre and sub genre: Customary and verbal folklore: custom, myth, tale, song
  • Language: Hawaiian/English
  • Country: USA

Informant Data:

  • Collected from myself: Marlo Mundon ’20 from the Big Island of Hawaii in 2009 from peers and teachers.

Contextual Data:

  • Social Context: This chant is used to ask for knowledge, wisdom, and guidance from ones ancestors. It is used mostly in formal and educational settings.
  • Cultural Context: There are many different kinds of chants that have different contexts, meanings, and styles of performance. Sometimes they are simply songs on their own or with hula (which usually tell stories and myths), or during seasonal ceremonies (for the gods or ancestors) or special occasions. There are many styles that range from sing-songy to monotone chants performed by societal leaders.

Item:

E ho mai

Ka ike mai luna mai e

na mea huna no’eau o na ele

E ho mai

E ho mai

E ho mai e

Audio Interview:

Transcript:

Michael: Do you have any like cultural tradition or superstition that you would like to share?

Marlo: One tradition that is really prevalent throughout all of Hawaii is chanting. At my old charter school we used to do chants every morning, they can be used in all kinds of contexts with a whole bunch of different meanings and stuff. Often times they’re used for ceremonies or special occasions, sometimes just announcing your presence if you’re a guest somewhere. Sometimes they’re just songs, or used for hula. A lot of them have specific meanings like some of them are in dedication to the ancestors or the gods. Some of them are for making your crops grow really well or asking for knowledge. That one in particular, asking for knowledge, there’s a short chant I know called “E ho mai” and that’s basically asking your ancestors to grant you knowledge.

Michael: Okay, and what are your thoughts on the social and cultural context of the chant and why?

Marlo: Socially, it’s super duper normal. The most common time you’ll hear a chant is before a meal, it’s kind of like saying grace. Some even end with “amen” but we say “amene” and like we do it at graduation, before school. It’s used all the time in many contexts. Culturally it’s a really, really old tradition that goes back to the beginning of Hawaiian culture. Like I said it has a lot of uses and it’s still used the same way today for cultural practices. It’s a good way to stay connected to the past and keep it alive today. When Hawaii was annexed it was illegal to practice um, like to do hula, speak the language, stuff like that and even now people don’t speak Hawaiian so doing the chants in the Hawaiian language keeps it alive because it’s dying out.

Michael: You should do the chant if you can remember it.

Marlo: Absolutely. It’s a short one but it’s repeated three times. I’ll just do the first time. And it raises an octave every time so that’s it.

 

Collector: Marlo Mundon

Lineage

Title: Lineage

General Information about Item:

  • Genre and sub genre: Customary and verbal folklore: custom and (family) tale
  • Language: Hawaiian/English
  • Country: USA

Informant Data:

  • Collected from myself: Marlo Mundon ’20 from the Big Island of Hawaii in 2009 from peers

Contextual Data:

  • Social Context: In traditional ceremonies or formal settings it is customary to tell the hosts who you are and your family history.
  • Cultural Context: Knowing one’s family history is very important to the Hawaiians and it’s a long standing but dying tradition to have your full lineage memorized. This is a dying tradition, as many of the older generation denounced their heritage during the overthrow, Christianization, and illegal status of practicing Hawaiian culture.

Item:

  • Each family member at an age of maturity is taught all the names of their family members and ancestors, tracing all the way back to the creators Papa and Wakea. This is a strictly oral tradition, much like an epic in length and pattern but without the music.

Collector: Marlo Mundon

Menehune

Title: Menehune

General Information about Item:

  • Genre and sub genre: Customary and Verbal folklore: Superstition and legend
  • Language: Hawaiian/English
  • Country: USA

Informant Data:

  • Collected from: Marlo Mundon ’20 from the Big Island of Hawaii in 2009 from peers

Contextual Data:

  • Social Context: Hawaii modern lore includes exaggerated tales that often are told to children about the mischievous people. They are credited with unexplained constructions or chaos.
  • Cultural Context: The Menehune were small people, not necessarily supernatural in nature but also not totally human. They lived in the forest and were master craftsmen and sometimes mischievous in nature.

Item:

  • They would build great structures like heiau (temples), fish ponds, roads, canoes, and houses overnight. They would only work at night so as not to be seen and would destroy or abandon their work if someone snuck out at night to try to see them work. They could be sought out and commissioned to do these great feats of construction and engineering, but only on their terms and if they were not honored, they would mess up the construction or mess with the people who violated their rules. 

Collector: Michael McGovern and Marlo Mundon

Greetings

Title: Greetings

 

General Information about the item:

  • Genre and sub genre: Customary folklore: custom
  • Language: Hawaiian/English
  • Country: USA

 

Informant data:

  • Zoe Leonard ’19 from Honolulu, O’ahu. Born in Hawaii and grew up there until coming to Dartmouth.

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Contextual data:

  • Social context: It is part of local speech to show respect by calling people older than you. It is also customary to give a kiss on the cheek because people are very affectionate. It is also considered dirty and disrespectful to wear shoes in the house.
  • Cultural context: The cheek kiss is similar to the traditional greeting (honi) where two people share a breath in through the nose to say hello. Aunty and Uncle in pidgin were taken from English. They were understood to mean elders or other adults, not specifically blood relatives. The practice of not wearing shoes inside is likely derived from Japanese culture.

 

Item:

  • The custom to greet someone in Hawaii today is a cheek to cheek kiss. Most elderly are referred to “aunty” or “uncle” rather than a “Mr…. or Mrs….”. It is customary to remove your shoes before entering a house.

 

Collector: Aaryndeep Rai

Lehua

Title: Lehua Blossom

 

General Information about the item:

  • Genre and sub genre: Customary and Verbal folklore: Superstition and homeopathic magic
  • Language: Hawaiian/English
  • Country: USA

 

Informant data:

  • Zoe Leonard ’19 from Honolulu, O’ahu. Born in Hawaii and grew up there until coming to Dartmouth.

 

Contextual data:

  • Social context: You might blame someone in a joking way that they caused bad weather, or account for unexpected rain with someone picking the flower
  • Cultural context: The flower is considered a symbol of Pele, and with homeopathic magic, it is connected to her. It is considered disrespectful to Pele to pick the flower which represents Pele.

 

Item:

  • The Lehua blossom, or flower is a red flower indigenous to Hawaii. It is rooted in Hawaiian legend, where Ohia and Lehua were both young lovers. Pele, the goddess of volcanoes/lava wanted ohia for herself but he refused. She turned Ohia in to a tree and Lehua in to the beautiful red flower out of anger and detail. It is said that as long as the flowers stay on the tree it will be a beautiful sunny day but as soon as the flowers are picked, it will begin to rain as Lehua can stand to be away from her lover.

 

Collector: Aaryndeep Rai

Lava

Title: Lava

 

General Information about the item:

  • Genre and sub genre: Customary and Verbal folklore: Superstition and homeopathic magic
  • Language: Hawaiian/English
  • Country: USA

 

Informant data:

  • Zoe Leonard ’19 from Honolulu, O’ahu. Born in Hawaii and grew up there until coming to Dartmouth.

 

Contextual data:

  • Social context: If you see a tourist taking lava you might know they will get bad luck, or be mad at them for being disrespectful.
  • Cultural context: The lava is considered a symbol of Pele, and with homeopathic magic, it is connected to her. It is considered disrespectful to Pele to lava which represents Pele.

 

Item:

  • It is a modern legend that anyone who removes and takes Pele’s (volcano goddess) lava or rocks from the islands, they will be cursed with bad luck and misfortune until they return the rocks back to the islands. It has gotten to the point where tourists have even gone as far as to mail back envelopes with sand and small rocks back to Hawaii in hopes of clearing their consciouses to change their luck.

 

Collectors: Aaryndeep Rai and Adrease Jackson

 

Lei

Title: Lei

 

General Information about the item:

  • Genre and sub genre: Customary and material folklore: custom, arts, clothing
  • Language: Hawaiian/English
  • Country: USA

 

Informant data:

  • Zoe Leonard ’19 from Honolulu, O’ahu. Born in Hawaii and grew up their until coming to Dartmouth.

 

Contextual data:

  • Social context: fiving is a way that people adorn others for congratulations or aloha (love). Often times when someone accomplishes something great or are celebrating something important.
  • Cultural context: The lei is a symbol of festivity, accomplishment, and happiness and marks someone who is loved or important. It is a custom because leis are carefully crafted and beautiful adornments and because they are time consuming to make, are only for special occasions.

 

Item:

  • The act of lei (flower necklace) giving. The act of lei (flower necklace) fiving is a way that people adorn others for congratulations or aloha (love). Often times when someone accomplishes something great or are celebrating something important.

 

Collector: Aaryndeep Rai

Blessing

Title: Blessing

General Information about the item:

  • Genre and sub genre: Customary folklore: custom
  • Language: Hawaiian/English
  • Country: USA

Informant data:

  • Zoe Leonard ’19 from Honolulu, O’ahu. Born in Hawaii and grew up their until coming to Dartmouth.

Contextual data:

  • Social context: A blessing is a rite of passage and social ceremony.
  • Cultural context: Blessing a place uses magic to expel bad spirits or energy and cleanse the area to have good energy. The ancient tradition has been carried down for generations.

Item:

  • When a new business, school, or establishment opens in the islands it is almost always along with a blessing ceremony where a kahu, or Hawaiian priests, blesses the place.

Collector: Aaryndeep Rai

 

The Ha’a

 

 

Title: The Ha’a

General Information about Item:

  • Genre/Sub-genre: Customary and Verbal folklore: Tradition
  • Language: Hawaiian/English
  • Country: USA

Informant Data:

  • Bun Straton
    • From Honolulu, Hawaii
    • Age 20
  • Kamana Hobbs
    • From Honolulu, Hawaii
    • Age 20

Contextual Data:

  • Cultural Context: Polynesian culture is rich in art and various types of expression, especially through body movements and dance.
  • Social Context: While not used in war anymore, the Ha’a is most often preformed before football games by the University of Hawai’i football team with the same aim of intimidating their opponents.

Item:

A branch of an ancient dancing tradition that stems from the collective Polynesian islands and cultures. It is performed primarily before battle to intimidate opponents, and can also be done before weddings and funerals. It is seen as a farewell and greeting dance at times. The Ha’a is a  dance that varies across cultures but has the same basic elements of War or Death, Sun or Warmth, and Life or Living. Components  of the dance are identifiable by bent knees, heavy use of facial expressions and strong, aggressive movements. In New Zealand it goes by the Haka to the Maori people, in Samoa it is referred to as the Manu Siva Tau and in Hawaii it is called the Ha’a

Collector: Nigel Alexander 20′

Tags/Keywords: dance, war,Haka, Ha’a, tradition, Hawaii, Maori, Samoa