Lava rock, Kailua-Kona
Yes, you want a souvenir of your vacation but do not remove any lava rocks. As superstition goes; removal of the rocks angers the volcano goddess Pele and brings bad luck to the person. So just go buy a souvenir from ABC...
"Take only pictures; leave only footprints." "Take only gifts you are given (like flower lei’s); and leave only with Aloha."
Part of this is superstition for those who believe it and most of it is about respect. Many see it as a cool activity to come along and build up rocks and call it a god or offering. To an old time native, it is disrespectful to mock the culture and gods in this way. It is also rediculous that anyone pile up rocks and call it an icon... So if you've done it, you've only accomplished making a fool out of yourself to the locals and disrespected the spirits that roam. Please don't be an ignoramous.
This is based purely on superstition... According to the Hawaii Board of Tourism and The Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, they get lava rocks mailed back to them on a daily basis. It is said that taking a lava rock from Hawaii will cause its taker bad luck. It has become quite an urban legend and a stories have appeared on the Travel Channel. One tale was told of a man who once had an extremely successful and fortunate life until his return from Hawaii. The man had taken a rock from the volcano and did not heed the warning from the old man he met in the mountain. Upon returning home, he found his stocks fell, his company was about to go under, his prize fish died (the tank he put the rock in), his car rolled out on the street and crashed itself, and he slipped and had a nasty bump. Because of this, his wife left him fearing he had gone insane. He eventually returned the rock and his life began to get back on track. Again, this is pure superstition but many have claimed bad luck in the name of Hawaii's lava rocks!
Its funny, people who have not taken a lava rock or have never seen how the locals react when you say you are thinking of or have taken a lava rock from the island, always say that its not true and bad luck do not follow you. Take it from someone who has been to hawaii, Kailua-Kona to be exact, and who has taken and now returned a lava rock the legend is true. Bad luck followed me everywhere, my love life, my schooling, my family, everything. This is a warning to any who want to take or are thinking of taking a lava rock from the islands. It sounds insane, but the bad luck is true, I wouldn't recommend taking a rock even to someone I hated.
If you're visiting Hawaii for the first time (or second or third), you may be tempted to elope with piece of volcanic rock or a handful of sand for souvenir. Guess what, according to local lores, doing this would arouse the anger of the gods, goddesses and assorted local spirits who would ensure that all sorts of malevolent misfortunes befall you. Obviously too much hassle for a piece of rock. Don't say I didn't warn you.
All this nonsense about bad luck taking lava rocks. I was on the big island a year and a half ago and brought back a rock for my son. Since then, I've had a 3rd healthy baby boy, a great marriage and my business income has doubled!
Maybe I'll get another one when I go there next week. In another year, I'll be a millionaire!
As a Hawaiian, we generally do not touch rocks. Heiau's (temples) are built from rocks and are prayed in to place by a kahuna. Sometimes a life will go down with the rock. Some Hawaiian's share family history with rocks in certain areas. To remove a rock which was ment to be in its place is not recommended to tourist, but to Hawaiiian's as well. We grow up knowing this. My father thought it would be cool to build a rock wall on his home in Honolulu with rocks from his home in Hana. ONE rock did not want to come! It was a hot clear day in Kipahulu. My father went to an old area to collect rocks. When he picked up a rock, the wind blew hard. The sky turned dark. He felt as the tempes was upon him. He said, "GREEN KUKUINUTS ALL FELL FROM THE TREES.' If know any thing about green kukui nuts, they never fall till ready. He put the rock back and went home. They sky cleared by that time.
Lava rock in some areas can be sharp and can cut you if you fall on it. Be especially careful on A'a lava, you can tell this type because it usually looks very crumbly and sharp.
Also remember that lava (for the most part) is black. it absorbs sunlight. It gets hot, and a lot of time it reflects too. So bring the sunscreen and bring plenty of water. I usually find that I get sunburned in half the time that I would normally would if I was on a white sand beach. (not pleasant)
You've probably heard it before, but I'm here to tell you this warning could be real. This is from my own personal experience. According to legend, the goddess Pele will punish anyone who takes her lava rocks or black sand from Hawaii. Of course, at first we just laughed it off as pure legend, possibly used by the park service as a way of deterring erosion from the islands. Now I believe differently. Why? Read on.
On our first visit to the Big Island, my husband proposed to me and presented my engagement ring in Volcanos National Park, as we watched the sun set over lava pouring into the ocean. On that same trip, we took home a couple of rocks and a handful of sand as souvenirs and gifts. But before the wedding, while we were on vacation in Bonaire (a place where I noted that an extict volcano looked a mirror image of Diamond Head in Hawaii), I lost my ring to the ocean. Slipped right off my hand without even noticing. I was devasted, but didn't make any connection to Hawaii at the time.
On our second visit to the Big Island on vacation with my sister and her family, my brother in law took home a bunch of sand from a black sand beach on our way to the Volcano. Enough to fill a potato chip bag. Within 6 months, he was dead, only in his 40's. I didn't make a connection right away, but when I arrived at my sister's house for the funeral, there was the bag of black sand, sitting on a table by the front door and then I got to thinking. And then I thought about my own bad luck in connection with Hawaii.
Superstituous? Sure. Coincidence? Maybe. But believe me, I'm not going to ever give Pele a chance to offer Evidence #3!