Hawaii’s Goddess of Snow, Poli’ahu

By Karen Harris
The Kilauea Volcano erupts with great force, shooting a lava fountain high into the air. Source: Photo by © CORBIS/Corbis via Getty Images)

We tend to think of Hawaii as a group of islands bathed in tropical warmth and sunshine. Hawaii is, after all, known for its stunning beaches and clear, blue water. So it may surprise mainlanders to know that, in ancient Hawaiian folklore, there were stories of Poli’ahu, the Hawaiian goddess of snow. And it would be even more surprising to learn that one of the prominent tales about Poli’ahu involved a Hawaiian sledding competition. The legend of Poli'ahu serves as a reminder that the volcanic islands were formed from fire and ice.