The Hawaiian Islands were populated over many generations, in many migratory waves. Each new group of people brought their own traditions and ways of marking time, and each sphere of work had its own way of marking time. Though of small landmass, Hawai`i is a vast and varied ecosystem, and island’s environment is unique. Once here with their diverse traditions, people in the different areas evolved different traditions to suit the environments in which they lived. Different stars’ risings, or other signs would be chosen to mark the seasons important to a specific community. Thus, a “traditional” Hawaiian calendar for a farmer in Hanapepe, Kaua`i can be quite different from one for a fisherman in Kailua, Hawai`i. This column is written based on the author’s memories of family lore passed on from her grandparents and extended `ohana, and from her studies over some 30 years. While the author does her best to use up-to-date tide charts and calendars to write this column, for the most authoritative information, and authentic Hawaiian tradition on moon phases and tides, it is best to “go outside and look.” Comments and discussion of the almanac are welcome.
Ho`oilo, the winter season, begins approximately in the Georgian October, with the gathering of the clouds bearing the winter rains. Ho`oilo ends the old year, and the new year is born to the sounds of thunder and the drumming of the rain. The first month of the new year, Welehu, begins with the growth of the first new moon after the sunset rising of the constellation Makali`i.
Makali`i is also the name, on the Island of Hawai`i, of the second month of the year. This year, Makali`i began on January 12 of the Georgian calendar.
During the month of Makali`i, Kona winds may bring winter storms sweeping in with full force. The shoots of root crops, such as `uhi (sweet potatoes), pia (arrowroot), and `ōlena (turmeric), begin to show, as the drenching rains soften the soil. Work ma uka (upland) has been abandoned for the remainder of the season, because of the rains. Winter work is to be found indoors. Basketry, matting, cordage, and tools for farming, fishing, and war all are made at this time of year.
It is winter now, and the snow goddess Poli`ahu may spread her white kapa over Mauna Kea at any time. Those driving up Maunakea for the program should prepare accordingly.
Some prominent stars and constellations this month are: Pūnana (Nest), also known as Hōkū Pa`a (Fixed Star), in English called the North Star; `Iwa Wahine (Lady Frigate Bird), known in English as the Big Dipper; and Makali`i (Eyes of the Chief), known in English as the Pleiades.
The Prince Kūhiō Civic Club Hawaiian Moon Calendar is a handy tool for tracking the Hawaiian lunar days. Edited by Kalei Nu`uhiwa, it is well researched and conveniently laid out. It is available in Hilo through Basically Books, or on-line from the Civic Club. It is based on traditions from East Maui, while the information in this column is based on traditions of East Hawai`i, so there are some differences.
Some events happening during Makali`i:
Music & Culture -
This Saturday, January 19: Malalo i ka Pō Lani, Mauna Kea Culture Night: The engaging and ever-popular Kaliko Beamer-Trapp returns to Malalo i ka Pō Lani, Hawaiian Culture Night on Mauna Kea, to present on the importance of preserving language to preserve culture. The talk will include an overview of Hawaiian etymology, and how words shape our thoughts. http://www.examiner.com/article/kaliko-beamer-trapp-featured-speaker-at-january-maunakea-culture-night
Wednesday, August 29,11:00 am - 11:45am: "Hawai`iana Live!" January is Volcano Awareness Month. We continue to explore the history and culture of Hawai`i’s volcanoes. We began with Pele’s arrival in Hawai`i, her displacement of the volcanic deity `Ai La`au, then learned about her search for a husband and her betrayal of Hi`iaka. This Wednesday, we will learn about some of Pele’s loves. Join Leilehua Yuen and Manu Josiah in this local's-eye-view of Hawai'i Island each Wednesday in Hilo's historic Palace Theater. Through traditional chant and storytelling, music, hula, and video featurettes, award-winning storyteller Leilehua explores the history and culture of Hawai'i Island through hula, storytelling, music, and video. Topics and films change weekly as the program revolves around the Hawaiian lunar calendar, and surprise guests and musicians often appear. The show also features Rick Mazerowski on the theater's historic pipe organ, playing some of Hawai'i's most beloved melodies.11:00 to 11:45am. Admission: $5; keiki (children) free. Palace Theater, 38 Haili St. Hilo. Call 934-7010 for more information.
Saturday, January 26, 10:30 am: Hula Arts at Kilauea in HVNP: This Volcano Art Center program features a Hula Kahiko Informance with kumu Leilehua Yuen and Manu Josiah; a 50-minute narrated demonstration of preparation, protocol and offering of traditional hula and chant. This inspired outdoor presentation takes place rain or shine at the pa hula (stone platform) located near VAC Gallery in Hawaii Volcanoes National Park. The audience is encouraged to bring sitting mat and be prepared for variable weather. On the same day, there is a hands-on cultural demonstration from 9:30AM to 1:30PM on the VAC Gallery lanai. Anyone who requires an auxiliary aid or service should call (808) 967-8222 or email firstname.lastname@example.org least two weeks in advance. This program is supported in part by the County of Hawaii Department of Research and Development and the Hawaii Tourism Authority. All events are free, though donations are welcome and park entrance fees apply.
Wednesday, August 29,11:00 am - 11:45am: "Hawai`iana Live!" The show wraps up Volcano Awareness Month with the story of Pele and the Princess, an historic event in which Princess Ruth Keʻelikōlani, governor of Hawai`i Island, came to the aid of Hilo when the town was threatened by a lava flow. Join Leilehua Yuen and Manu Josiah in this local's-eye-view of Hawai'i Island each Wednesday in Hilo's historic Palace Theater. Through traditional chant and storytelling, music, hula, and video featurettes, award-winning storyteller Leilehua explores the history and culture of Hawai'i Island through hula, storytelling, music, and video. Topics and films change weekly as the program revolves around the Hawaiian lunar calendar, and surprise guests and musicians often appear. The show also features Rick Mazerowski on the theater's historic pipe organ, playing some of Hawai'i's most beloved melodies.11:00 to 11:45am. Admission: $5; keiki (children) free. Palace Theater, 38 Haili St. Hilo. Call 934-7010 for more information.