In Hawaiian legend, nightmarchers are the deadly ghosts of ancient Hawaiian warriors.
On the nights honoring the Hawaiian gods Kane, Ku, Lono, or on the nights of Kanaloa they are said to come forth from their burial sites, or to rise up from the ocean, and to march in a large group to ancient Hawaiian battles sites or to other sacred places. Legend says the nightmarchers are dressed for battle, carrying spears and clubs. Some beat war drums and blow tones from conch shells, to announce their advance. Legend also says they are suspended in the air; their feet do not touch water or ground as they traverse through the night.
They march in darkness after sunset, and march as a group continuously until just before sunrise. Any living person who hears their approach must go inside immediately, lay prone on the floor, and not look to avoid notice, harm or even death. No matter what you build in their path, they march straight through it. Nightmarchers might appear during the day if coming to escort a dying relative to the spirit world.
The ceremony and conduct of the march is customised to the tastes of its honored warrior leader. A Hawaiian King or Chief known to be fond of music would be honored with much drumming and chanting. If the King or Chief enjoyed peace and quiet, the march would be as silent as possible. Further, if the King or Chief did not like to walk around much, he would be carried in a sling by warriors.
There are often Hawaiian gods present in some marches. The torches are said to burn brighter in these marches. The largest torches are carried one at the front, one in the back, with three within the group. In the nightmarch with Hawaiian gods present, there are six gods, three male, three female.