Many people wonder how the Hawaiian Islands came to be. There are many Hawaiian legends that help us understand how they were formed, the most popular legend involved Pele, the goddess of fire, and Nāmaka, the goddess of the sea. When Pele would get angry, she would cause volcanic eruptions. Legend has it that Pele and her older sister, Nāmaka were enemies. It is said that an intense fight between the two led to the birth of the Hawaiian islands.
The two began fighting where Kaua’i is now located, Pele would start fires or create fire pits in which Nāmaka would come and burn them out with the sea and attack her sister. This is how the islands began to form. She continued to move southeast to Moloka‘i and Maui, where she created the Haleakalā volcano. Nāmaka and Pele battled on Maui, and Nāmaka was believed to have killed Pele.
Pele proved Nāmaka wrong and ended up on the Big Island of Hawai‘i where she created Mauna Loa. Nāmaka soon realized that she could not defeat Pele. In the end, the Hawaiian Islands were created and according to the legend, Pele now lives at the top of Kīlauea in the Halemaʻumaʻu crater. To this day, Kīlauea is still active and is currently erupting – could it be that Pele has been woken?
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