‘Spiritual’ lessons we’ve learned

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Growing up in Hawaii, we learn a lot of things.

Morning traffic always slows arbitrarily by the Middle Street merge. Just because it’s sunny in the morning doesn’t mean it won’t rain later. And don’t eat anything that comes out of the Ala Wai Canal.

But we’re also taught other, well, intangible things that have more to do with the Island’s spiritual culture.

We were talking about this last night — why do we always talk about ghosts and spirits at night? — and it got me thinking about the superstitions we share and where they come from.

Here are the ones I can vaguely remember:

  • Don’t whistle at night. It calls ghosts.
  • If you’re visiting the volcanoes on the Big Island, you must leave an offering for Pele such as ohelo berries or whiskey.
  • Don’t sleep with your feet facing the door. Night Marchers, the ghosts of ancient Hawaiian warriors — or maybe it’s the menehune — will drag you out.
  • Don’t build a house where the front and back doors are aligned. Night Marchers may use your house as a path.
  • Don’t take pork over the Pali. Not sure if it’s only raw pork.
  • Don’t put the eye gunk of dogs in your eyes. (I can’t believe you have to tell people that.) You will see ghosts.
  • Don’t point at graveyards.
  • Be nice to any older Hawaiian white, especially if she’s wearing a white kihei and needs a ride.

Do you remember hearing this growing up? And are these superstitions exclusive to Hawaii — or are there similar stories in other parts of the world?

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To read all of Cat’s blogs, visit www.nonstophonolulu.com/thedailydish. Follow Cat on Twitter @thedailydish or send her an e-mail at cat@nonstophonolulu.com.

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