No Bananas on Board: 5 Hawaiian Superstitions

Culture/History, Hawaii — By lottietagupa on March 9, 2010 at 6:27 pm

All islanders are proud of the multi-cultural society in Hawaii. The blending of many ethnicities in the islands has created a tolerance and respect for each cultures’ uniqueness, and the utmost respect for the Hawaiian host culture and its superstitions. Read on for a few examples of the more widely accepted superstitions.

Never take pork over the Pali. This superstition is purely Hawaiian, with origins are in a legend that tells of the tumultuous relationship between Pele the Fire Goddess and the strong willed half-man, half-pig demi-god Kamapuaa. Today it is still widely believed that transporting pork over the mountains through Nuuanu Valley on Oahu will not only anger the fire goddess, but it will disable any vehicle until the pork is removed.

Never take rocks from Kilauea. Although more of an urban legend than superstition, the superstition came into being after visitors to the Big Island removed rocks from the Hawaii Volcanoes National Park as a memento of their visit…only to return them via mail with notes professing that the possession of the rocks have cursed them.

Never take bananas on a boat. Another superstition from ancient Hawaiian folklore, based on the superstition that bananas on a boat not only bring no fish, but bad luck. Book a Hawaii fishing or snorkel charter and most boat captains will not leave the dock with any bananas on board.

Never wear a closed flower lei when pregnant. This Hawaii superstition says that if a pregnant woman wears a closed lei the unborn baby will suffer umbilical cord strangulation during birth. Pregnant women can opt for an open style lei instead.

Don’t forget the blessing ceremony. This is a tradition based in Hawaiian values. Blessings are done for a multitude of situations that include ground breaking, topping off on construction projects, housewarming, grand opening of a business and more.

[Photo: Vatsek/Flickr]

Tags: curse, folklore, Hawaii, island, kileau, rocks, superstition, urban legend


  • Nancy Miller says:

    Well, that is rather interesting. I started off my internet search for bananas because I wanted to locate a excellent recipe for banana pie. Some how I came across your website. I am extremely glad I took the time to read your page. Fascinating how the world wide web can move you around and aid you to learn so quickly. Thanks for the fantastic insight. I

  • Skye says:

    I’m living on Maui and have heard the one about no bananas on board and started asking around. Most had not heard this one, expect one fisherman, so we decided to look this one up. Still don’t know why no bananas on board, but now know that it is a legend. Mahalo for sharing!


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