Tuesday, January 19, 2010

“Four Month Holiday for New Year’s Day !!”

We sometimes feel guilty over the holidays for taking too much time off, but the ancient Hawaiians really had it down pat. In ancient times, as the old year drew to a close, the priests associated with certain temples on the western side of each inhabited Hawaiian island would watch for the appearance of Makali`i - the Pleiades- a star cluster which appears in the evening sky in our October. When the priests could finally distinguish Makali`i in the eastern sky shortly after sunset, they announced the next new moon would begin the Makahiki season. http://www.kaahelehawaii.com/

At sunrise, the following day, the Makahiki kapu (taboo) started: For four days no one was allowed to do anything but rest and relax! After those four days, for four moon cycles, the Hawaiian people were allowed no other work than necessary for survival. http://www.coffeetimes.com/


The Makahiki Season was a celebration of abundance of land and sea and the accomplishments of the Hawaiian People. It was the time for healing, new growth, a time of peace and spiritual cleansing of the Hawaiian mind, soul and heart, in celebration of life. It is also, a time when the Makaainana (commoners) would honor Lono, their God of agriculture.http://hawaiiculture.com/

Throughout Makahiki an ironclad kapu forbade war and the god of war (Ku) rested, Lono ruled and softened the lands with rain. To keep their skills honed in a time of peace, warriors vied in the games. Engravings by early European visitors show the throngs that gathered to witness their champions compete in events ranging from Hawaiian boxing,


to foot races, spear throwing; and traditional games like maika, a form of outdoor bowling that aimed a cylindrical stone between two pegs. Events requiring wit, oratory, artistry, and spiritual knowledge played a part, such as nane (riddle contests), hula, and haku mele (composition of chants). http://www.mauimagazine.net/Maui-

Surfing also played part in the annual celebration as thousands gathered to watch the famous tournaments, and these always included surfing. http://www.surfart.com/

After four months, the god Ku rose once again to rule over kau wela, the hot summer season. A canoe with offerings to Lono was set adrift to help return him to his ancestral lands and petition his generosity for the following year, and Makahiki concluded. http://www.mauimagazine.net/Maui-

Next year my wife Devany and I are going to celebrate for four months too! Hau'oli Makahiki Hou! (Happy New Year!)

1 comment:

  1. I am so down for celebrating Makahiki... can I begin in say June?

    More great stuff here Wes. Thanks for enlightening me!


Mahalo for leaving a comment!~WesIsland