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Mauna Kea Hawaiian Culture Night: Stories of the Winter Stars

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Come up for culture night on Mauna Kea this Saturday, December 21, at 6:00 pm for an evening of Hawaiian music, chants, stories and science. Then, join the star party at the Onizuka Center lanai for some of the best star gazing in the world.

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This month, the topic is Stories of the Winter Stars, sharing tales of the traditional Hawaiian constellations, and exploring some ideas on how the constellations got their names, and how these seemingly fantastical fables offer clues to the history, geology, and climate of ancient Hawai`i and her people.

Some prominent stars and constellations this month are: Huihui Koko a Makali`i Kau i Luna (The Constellation of Makali`i's Net Hanging Above), known in English as the Pleiades; Pūnana (Nest), also known as Hōkū Pa`a (Fixed Star), in English called the North Star; `Iwahine (Lady Frigate Bird), known in English as the Little Dipper; and `Iwa Keli`i, or `Iwalani (Royal Frigate Bird), known in English as Casseopeia.

The program features the storytelling, chanting, and hula of your Examiner, Leilehua Yuen, and the stories, traditional Hawaiian flute music, and guitar music of Manu Josiah.

Each month, a different cultural practitioner shares perspectives on an aspect of Hawaiian culture, history and/or arts relating to the natural history of Mauna Kea.

Those who come to the Maunakea culture night talks should wear layers, including a nice, warm jacket. Socks, shoes, and gloves are recommended. Bring a bottle of water to drink, and a flashlight. Be polite to those who are stargazing and cover the light with a red lens or filter. Tissues for those whose noses run in cold weather are good, as well. Please read this link for more safety information.

For those unfamiliar with the island, there are no streetlights on the road up the mountain. We must preserve our beautiful dark skies! And, Mauna Kea sticks her head up above the clouds, which means you will be driving through them, so plan for at least an hour of travel time from Hilo. Please read this link for driving information.

Hawai`i is now in Ho`oilo, the wet winter season. The Hawaiian month of `Ikuā ended at nightfall on the 14th. A noisy, stormy month, with thunder, wind, and rain in the uplands, Welehu, which began on the 15th is even more so. Those driving up Mauna Kea for the evening program should prepare accordingly.

The "Malalo o ka Po Lani" Hawaiian cultural program is held on the third Saturday of every month in the Ellison Onizuka Center for International Astronomy Visitor Information Station's presentation room at the 9,300-foot elevation on Mauna Kea.

For more information on the Malalo i ka Pō Lani culture night programs at the Onizuka Center for International Astronomy, contact the Mauna Kea Visitor’s Information Station. Phone: (808) 961-2180 Fax: (808) 969-4892.

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