Malama 'Aina

Makahiki Begins

The Makahiki season could only begin with the pronouncement from the kāhuna or priests. After carefully scanning the skies for a sign, they would formally announce the start of Makahiki and the people then prepared themselves for the coming of Lono, the god of peace, agriculture, and fertility.

Activity Plan Content

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Recognize the significance of natural phenomena (e.g. the importance of Makali'i, or the Pleiades, appearing in Hawaiian skies at a certain position at a certain time of the year);

Describe the role of the kāhuna, or priests;

Discuss the significance of religion and religious ceremonies in the Hawaiian culture;

Discuss the importance of the Lono procession that journeyed around each island; and

Recognize the related concepts that once tribute had been paid to Lono, the land was free from kapu, and that after the Lono procession left their ahupua'a, the the people could rejoice and celebrate the Makahiki season.


Makahiki Begins
Audio PowerPoint

The beginning of the Makahiki season was marked by the rising of the Pleiades or Makali‘i on the eastern horizon at sunset.

Click on the link above to start the presentation.

Audio PowerPoint

The Hawaiian people see purification as a key element in the opening of many activities and celebrations. The beginning of Makahiki was a time for purification in a practice known as hi‘uwai.

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The Coming of Lono
Audio PowerPoint

Announcing the coming of Makahiki was another practice whereas the kahuna would pray to the god Lono asking him to send his spirit into a wooden image known as Lonoikamakahiki.

Click on the link above to start the presentation.

Makahiki Video Clips
Produced by: Kamehameha Schools Curriculum Support and Dissemination Branch

The Rise and Setting of Makali‘i
Ron Kimball shares his experience on predicting the start of the Makahiki season in relation to the rising of the constellation Makali‘i.

Beginning of Makahiki
Dr. Manu Meyer shares how the beginning of Makahiki was a competitive time for all.

Click on a link above to watch a video.

Makahiki Audio Clips
Produced by: Kamehameha Schools Curriculum Support and Dissemination Branch

"Nā Lehulehu" (Lyrics)
This chant was composed by Mahela Rosehill and Carinthia Harbottle, music teachers at the Kamehameha Schools Preparatory Department (elementary school) during the 1960s. To aid student learning, they wrote simple songs and chants. One such chant was "Nā Lehulehu," which a student could recite while re-enacting the role of a kahuna at the start of the Makahiki season.

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"Ho‘okupu Chant" (Lyrics)
During the 1960s at Kamehameha Schools, a group of elementary school teachers were instrumental in the revival and perpetuation of Hawaiian culture on the Kapālama Campus. To help their students learn more about Makahiki and the traditional practices observed during this special time of the year, these teachers composed simple chants such as the "Ho‘okupu Chant," also known as "Hele Mai, E Nā Kānaka."

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"Ou Kino E Lono I Ka Lani" (Lyrics)
"Ou Kino E Lono I Ka Lani" is a traditional oli, or chant. It is a pule hainaki, which is a prayer said by a kahuna to Lono asking him to remove the kapu from the land so that Makahiki can begin. At a certain point, the po‘e, or assemblage of people, also participate in the recitation of this oli.

Click the play button to start

Online Activity

Test your knowledge on this section by playing the interactive game below.

Image Selection
Can you identify the images that represent ho‘okupu, kahuna, Lonoikamakahiki and Makali‘i? Click on the link above to play.

Audio Hawaiian Vocabulary List
Makahiki Begins Vocabulary List
Narrated by Ānuenue Pūnua

Click on the link directly above to review the Hawaiian vocabulary words used in this section. You may also print out the vocabulary list (PDF) as needed.

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