Aloha and Happy Makahiki Season!
As the sun sets over Mauna a Wakea, people eagerly await the rising of Makaliʻi, the constellation Pleiades, marking the start of the Hawaiian new year - Makahiki. Makahiki typically runs from mid-November to late January or February, and is a time dedicated to tribute, harvest, sports, and play.
Makahiki has a rich history in Hawaiian culture, dating back to ancient times when the Hawaiian calendar was divided into two seasons - Kau (dry season) and Hoʻoilo (wet season). The month of ʻIkuā, known for its noisy weather of thunderstorms and heavy rains, signaled the arrival of Makahiki.
During this time, ancient Hawaiians honored the god Lono, who represented fertility, agriculture, and peace, by feasting, playing games, and participating in hula and storytelling. War was forbidden, making Makahiki a time of peace and prosperity. Popular games included heihei kūkini (racing), mokomoko (boxing), hākōkō (wrestling), pūhenehene (a skilled-game of deception), and kōnane (a board game similar to chess).
Makahiki was also a time of rest and rejuvenation for both the land and people, providing an opportunity to strengthen existing relationships and forge new ones. Auhau (taxes) and hoʻokupu (offerings) were collected, with each ahupuaʻa (land district) presenting its offerings to the aliʻi nui (high chiefs) of the island.
Today, the lessons of Makahiki still hold valuable meaning, reminding us to always offer our best to others, whether it's students, colleagues, or the community. Let's welcome the new year with open hearts and celebrate the rich history and traditions of Hawaiian culture.
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