The Hawaiian month of Kā`elo slides somewhere along the Gregorian months of January, February, and possibly into March. It’s nearing the end of Ho`oilo, the winter rainy season, the end of the surfing season, and in some areas, the end of the Makahiki.
In Ka`ū, on the island of Hawai`i, Kā`elo marks the fourth month of the Hawaiian lunar calendar, and the ending of the heavy winter rains. In Kona, Kā`elo marks the beginning of the rainy season, rather than the end.
At this time of year, the drenching rains are starting to abate, and the mountain slopes, in a normal year, are bright green. Ma uka, upland, the yams growing at the edge of the forest are ready for harvest.
Generations past, at this time of year the people would be out digging up the fields to prepare them for planting the taro, sweet potato, gourds, and cordage plants. This was a challenging time of year, because many of the food stores had been eaten, and the new crops were not yet ready to harvest. Wild foods filled the need, so people harvested wild fern, bananas, seaweeds, and birds.
Kōlea, the golden plover, was hunted. They had arrived from Alaska at the beginning of the Makahiki, thin and wiry from their long journey, and now, after feeding for three or four months on the various bugs and snails of their winter home, they were plump and tasty.