As in most tropical
climates, there are two seasons in Hawai'i, the cooler wetter season called
Ho'oilo, and the hotter, drier season called Kau. Both seasons last about
six months. In ancient times, the months were marked by the appearance
of different stars and constellations in the eastern sky at sunset. The
names of the months varied from district to district and island to island.
The following names are from the Prince Kuhi'o Hawaiian
Civic Club Calendar, published annually.
(Pleiades) appears in the ENE sky after sunset. Rainy season. Makahiki,
a four-month long harvest festival, dedicated to Lono, a god of rain
and agriculture, began toward the end of Kau and continued into the
new year. 'Opelu and akule fishing.
(Nov.-Dec.)--Sun rises and sets at its southern limit (winter solstice).
Land prepared for planting. 'Opelu and akule fishing; 'ama'ama
(mullet) spawning and kapu through Feb. Kohola (humpbacked-whales)
feed and breed in island waters through April.
(Sirius) and Orion in the eastern evening sky. 'Uala (sweet potato)
planting in dry leeward areas to take advantage of winter rains. Reef
and inshore fishing.
Ali'i o Kona i ka Lewa (Canopus) in the SE by S evening sky. In traditional
times, aku kapu lifted at the end of Makahiki; 'opelu kapu through
July during its spawning season; reef and inshore fishing. Planting
period for all crops--kalo, 'uala. gourds, wauke (bark cloth), olona
(for cordage), bananas, yams, arrowroot.
rises due east and sets due west (spring equinox). Mulch and weed gardens;
vigorous plant growth begins. 'Ama'ama fishing season opens; malolo
(flying fish) spawning.
in the eastern evening sky. All things grow; crops maturing. 'Ama'ama
and malolo fishing. Deep-sea fishing through summer. 'Ilio-holo-i-ka-uaua
(monk seal) pups are born, spring through summer.
Kau (Hotter, Drier
in the WNW evening sky; Hokule'a (Arcturus) in the ENE
evening sky. 'Uala planting with summer rains. Honu (green sea turtles)
come ashore to lay their eggs in the sand through summer. Great schools
of moi (threadfish) and malolo.
rises and sets at its northern limit (summer solstice). 'Ulu (breadfruit)
ripens. Ula (lobster) and moi kapu through August during their spawning
seasons. Aku and'ahi (tuna) season.
(June-July)--Manaiakalani (Maui's Fishhook, or Scorpio) in the SE evening
sky. Humid weather, sudden storms. 'Ohi'a 'ai (mountain apple)
ripens; gourds and melons ripen. In traditional times,'opelu
kapu lifted; aku kapu through Jan. during its spawning season; akule
(July-August)--Leo in the western evening sky. 'Ohi'a 'ai abundant.
He'e (octopus) fishing with lures.
(Aug.-Sept.)--Sun rises due east and sets due west (fall equinox). Tubers
ripen for harvest; sugar cane blossoms; vines dying off. Ula and moi
season; 'opelu fishing.
(Cassiopeia) in the NNE evening sky. Thunder and rain. Plant growth
slows. Kalo and 'uala harvest. Preparation for the Makahiki Harvest
Festival. Akule and 'Opelu plentiful.