Which Hawaiian island is the goddess Pele believed to reside on?

Pele is one of the most prominent figures in Hawaiian mythology. Known as “Pele-honua-mea,” which means “Pele of the Sacred Land,” she is the goddess of fire, lightning, dance, volcanoes, and violence.

According to the myth, this goddess created the Hawaiian islands by using her digging stick to pierce the ocean floor, causing lava to erupt and form islands.

Place of residence

The Hawaiian goddess Pele is believed to reside on the Big Island of Hawai’i, specifically in the Halemaʻumaʻu crater at the summit of Kīlauea volcano.

The Big Island, officially known as Hawai’i Island, is the largest of the Hawaiian islands, both in terms of land area and volume. Located in the central Pacific Ocean, it is part of the U.S. state of Hawai’i.

Also known as Moku o Keawe, the Hawaiʻi Island has a rich landscape that includes stunning beaches (including a green sand beach), waterfalls, lush valleys, and the unique lava landscapes of the Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park.

It’s called the “Big Island” for a reason. It has a land area of over 4,000 square miles (10,400 square km) and is still growing due to volcanic activity.

The island is home to several volcanoes, including Kīlauea, one of the world’s most active volcanoes, and Mauna Loa, the world’s largest shield volcano.

Located along the southeastern shore of Hawai’i Island,  the Kīlauea volcano is the most active of the five volcanoes that together form the island of Hawaii.


Situated on Hawai’i Island’s southeastern coast, the Kīlauea volcano has an age that spans between 210,000 and 280,000 years. It rose above the ocean’s surface roughly 100,000 years ago. Among the five volcanoes that constitute the island of Hawaii, Kīlauea is historically the most lively.

Furthermore, Kīlauea stands as one of Earth’s most vibrant volcanoes. Between June 7 to 19, 2023, it erupted following a sequence of earthquakes. During this period, multiple vents spewed lava within the Halemaʻumaʻu crater at the volcano’s summit caldera, culminating in the formation of a fissure cinder cone measuring around 40 m (130 ft) in height.

Other interesting myths about the Hawaiian goddess Pele

  • Pele is said to be in a constant battle with her older sister Namaka, the goddess of the sea. This battle between fire and water is symbolized by the interaction of lava with the ocean, creating steam.
  • Legend states that Pele originally lived in Tahiti but was chased away by her angered sister Namaka after an altercation. Pele then journeyed through the Hawaiian chain, creating fires (volcanoes) on each island, before finally settling on the Big Island.
  • In one tale, Pele fell in love with a handsome man named Ohia. However, he was already in love with Lehua. Jealous, Pele turned Ohia into a twisted tree. Lehua, heartbroken, pleaded with the gods to unite them, leading them to transform her into a flower that blossomed on the Ohia tree. It’s said that when a Lehua flower is plucked, rain represents her tears.
  • This Hawaiian goddess is known to appear in various forms, including as a beautiful young woman or an old, wandering beggar. Many tales warn of respecting the elderly or strangers, as you never know if you might be in the presence of Pele.
Pele goddess

Hawaiian goddess Pele is believed to reside in the Halemaʻumaʻu crater at the summit of Kīlauea, one of the world’s most active volcanoes, located on the Big Island of Hawai’i.

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