Folk Belief – Hawaii

You can’t have pork in the car while driving down the Pali highway.

Katie Tamai first learned this superstition from her mother when she was a child.  She was driving towards the Pali highway with her mom when her mom stopped the car and placed the box of leftover pork on the side of the road.  Though Katie didn’t understand this action at first, she learned that according to Hawaiian superstition, it is unlucky to drive along the Pali highway with pork in the car.  If a person does not surrender their pork on the road, his car will break down in the middle of the highway.  Therefore, individuals in Hawaii, including Katie, do not drive along the highway with pork in the car.

From the beliefs of many Hawaiians, having pork in the car while driving on the Pali highway is disrespectful to an ancestral spirit and can cause the car to shut down.  This superstition, however, may also have a more functional purpose behind it.  In Hawaii, this mountainous highway is known to have a high rate of car accidents each year as a result of speeding.  Many individuals die from unexplainable deaths on the highway.  Therefore, the superstition may have been created to promote safe driving in this region.  Not only would individuals not be eating while driving but they would also be more cautious because of the superstition.  As a result, not only would individuals be pleasing the supernatural spirits roaming the highway but they would also be keeping themselves safe.