Makahiki was a special time of year for the ancient Hawaiians, the season for harvest, games, peace, and rest. It was a time to be thankful, a time to put aside war, and to come together in harmony and comraderie. The season, which lasts for four months, coincides with the rising of the Pleiades in the sky and runs from late October or November to February or March. It is almost like a combination of the western holidays of Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s into one! Dedicated to Lono, the Hawaiian god of harvest, fertility, and prosperity, there would be many offerings made and religious ceremonies. People generally stopped working for the most part and called a truce to all wars during this time of feasting, games, and celebration.
In keeping with Hawaiian traditions, many places around Oahu have special events and celebrations also during this time. Waimea Valley, on Oahu’s North Shore, will be having their Makahiki Festival on October 12th and 13th. Many Hawaiian games will be featured. These games were ways for warriors, young and old, to practice and hone their skills in peaceful competition. You will see Ulu Maika (disc throwing), Moa Pahe`e (dart sliding), Konane (sort of like checkers), O`o ihe (spear throwing), Pa Uma (hand wrestling), Kulakula (chest pushing), Kukini (foot races), and Hukihuki (tug of war). Sounds a bit like a Hawaiian Olympics doesn’t it? There will also be sledding! Yes, the ancient Hawaiians used a Holua (sled) which requires much upper body strength and a keen sense of balance. The sled run would be set up on a steep hillside and, in olden days, would be bordered by jagged volcanic rock, adding an element of danger and demonstrating the bravery of the warriors. It truly did require bravery for the danger of being cut up or severely injured on the sharp rocks was very real!
At the Makahiki Festival in Waimea Valley you will also be treated to traditional music, hula, and Mo`olelo (storytelling), which were all a part of the activities and celebration during Makahiki. In addition there will be feather lei making, kapa making, native plant sales, and more! In the spirit of the season and the custom of sharing of their abundance, Waimea Valley would like to request each family to bring canned or non-perishable foods to donate to the North Shore Food Bank. For more information on times, events, and admission prices CLICK HERE