One of the most well-known legends in Hawai‘i is Pele’s Curse. Pele is known as the Hawaiian goddess of fire, lightning, wind, dance and volcanoes. Her home is believed to be on the Halemaumau crater at the summit of Kilauea Volcano. She is known for her passion and temper — many visitors will likely hear stories of her power and destruction.
The legend of Pele’s curse says that anyone who removes anything natively Hawaiian like pieces of rock or sand from the Hawaiian islands will feel the wrath of Pele who views the rocks as her children. Legend has it that if you take from Pele, you will incur years of bad luck. It is said that Pele’s wrath is stimulated by jealousy or arrogance. Some believe the myth of Pele’s curse was actually invented by park rangers on the Big Island of Hawai‘i because they were tired of visitors making off with bits of the island.
Many, including the kamaʻāina or local residents, believe that Pele’s Curse is just a legend; however, to this day hundreds of pieces of lava rock are mailed back to the Big Island as a result of those who claim they have experienced bad luck and misfortune. Regardless of whether it is true or not, it encourages having respect for the āina or land and embracing the beauty of Hawai‘i.