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Hawaii History – The Legends of Maui

Throughout Hawaii, the legends that have been passed down through the years have remained a constant in the culture of the islands. The history of Hawaii has always played a vital role in shaping the lives of residents, and the influence is still felt today. The stories that have been passed through the generations are held in the highest regard, and the beliefs of ancient Hawaiians are kept to maintain a direct connection to ancestors. Many legends are known by all, and while some are less known, their importance is still vital to Hawaiian culture.

Every island has its own history and its own stories that are told. From the creation of the islands to stories about specific locations, these are the important pieces of the past that we continue to honor today. You may have even heard mention of Pele with the current eruptions of the Big Island. This is not something that is new to Hawaii, though the legends are just now getting exposure throughout the world.

There is a story for everything, even the name of the island, and it is a story that is well-known and the effects of the story are still visible today. The legend goes that Maui, a demigod, was famous for his strength, and is credited with actually creating the Hawaiian Islands. Maui went out fishing with his brothers fishing, and inadvertently hooked the ocean floor with his magic fishing hook. With Maui holding onto his fishing line and his brothers, who were paddling the boat, started paddling as hard as they possibly could, with each thinking that they’d hooked a large fish, but were actually pulling the ocean floor to the surface. The exhausted brothers stopped paddling their canoe, with the ocean floor exposed, though not fully breaking the water, thus creating the islands as we know them today.

One of Maui’s greatest feats was the slowing of the sun during its journey across the sky. His mother was unable to properly dry her kappa (cloth) because the days were too short, and expressed her frustration to her son. Maui then climbed to the top of Haleakala, the highest point on the island, and with a rope made of his sister’s hair, lassoed the sun. The sun agreed to slow down, creating longer days, and allowing Hina to properly dry her kapa.

There are so many legends of Hawaii and everyone has their favorite. If you come across the telling of one of these ancient stories, take the time to stop and listen. They are so important to Hawaii and taking the time to hear about the ancient past will give you a new perspective of the islands. On Hawaii Sightseeing Tours or Hawaii Activity, will most likely come up and you will get to hear about the incredible history of the islands.

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