Superstition – Hawaii

Superstition (Hawaiian)

You are not supposed to carry any type of pork over the Pali Highway or your car will break down.


Alisa said she probably heard this superstition in grade school, at the time when she moved to a different town on Oahu.  The Pali Highway connects her new town to Honolulu and she had to drive it to school everyday.  Her parents were most likely the ones who told her of this superstition.  Alisa is not sure who follows this superstition and is unaware of anyone having problems on the Pali Highway.  She notes, however, that carrying pork is not all too common to begin with.  Moreover, she doesn’t really know why this holds but said that most people on Oahu knew of it.

I myself did some research on this superstition to find some reason behind it. Although the sources of my findings may not be credible, it provided an interesting myth. It is believed that Pele, the Hawaiian volcano goddess, was involved in a tempestuous relationship with the demigod, Kamapua’, who was half man and half pig. The two lovers decided not to visit each other because of their testy relationship.  Because they lived on different parts of the island, when people brought pork over the highway, it was symbolic of taking a piece of Kamapua’ from one side to the other.  This obviously made Pele upset, so she would use her powers to stop whoever brought it over. I also found some variation with the actual item, like the pork had to be raw, or it only happens at night time, or even that a white dog would appear and one would have to feed him before he or she could proceed.

These types of myths, with demigods, are quite common in Hawaiian folklore. Dog men, bird men, and hog men are other examples of demigods.  Pork is also a fairly recurrent dish in Hawaii.  Many traditional luaus consist of roasting kalua pig in an imu, which is an oven dug into the ground to preserve flavor.