According to Hawaiian folklore, the powerful goddess Pele lives inside the islands’ volcanoes. When angered, Pele sends streams of molten lava down a volcano’s slopes, burning everything: houses, trees, and people.
Pele’s sister, Namaka the ocean goddess, meets Pele along the shoreline. Sometimes their meet ing is quiet, as lava gently flows into the water. But sometimes their encounter causes the ocean waters to boil, sending up huge clouds of steam and smoke.
Human sacrifice was believed to quiet Pele’s anger, and islanders threw their neighbors into the mouths of volcanic craters to calm her down. Nowadays, however, those wishing to appease the volcano goddess throw oleho berries into the craters’ bubbling lava instead. The last human being was sacrificed to Pele in 1819.