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2021 Makahiki: Ke Aka | Reflections

Makahiki is a sacred time for Native Hawaiians. The four month Makahiki season begins with the first sighting of the makaliʻi (the constellation Pleiades) in late October or early November. In ancient days, Makahiki was known as a time of peace and cessation of warfare. It was of tradition to allow the land time to rests as the rains softened and prepared it for the new planting season. Since all wars were prohibited, the chiefs joined with the makaʻainana (citizens) in feasting, testing of argumentative skills and athletic competition.

Today, Makahiki remains a time to reflect and appreciate harvests and bounty. A time to share abundance. During this time, people come together to learn collective wisdom from shared stories. Lono, the god of fertility and agriculture, is the akua (god) of the Makahiki Season. Lono is known for reestablishing the vitality of the land and nourishing the garden of the people. 

This year’s Makahiki theme is “Ke Aka” Reflections. As we celebrate the 30th anniversary of Fairmont Kea Lani, we pay homage to our past, present and future. A Hawaiian ōlelo noʻeau (proverb) states “I ka wā ma mua, ka wā ma hope”, meaning the future is in the past. It is often said that while we cannot change the past, we can learn from the knowledge of history to be prosperous in the future.

On November 29th, 2021 our Kea Lani ʻohana joined with several cultural practitioners, led by the resort’s advisor Kumu Kapono Kamaunu, to honor this makahiki season. Starting with a sunrise Hiʻuwai (water purification ceremony) and E Ala E chant for the opening of Makahiki, Heartists (colleagues) immersed themselves in the ocean to cleanse the mind, body and soul and let go of that which no longer serves a purpose. Purifying our spirit to reenergize ourselves as we look forward to the future. In preparation of the event, Heartists made ti leaf lei that were worn then offered as a hoʻokupu (gift) to the akua (gods) upon leaving the ocean.

Proceeding from the ocean, the group gathered to partake in a traditional Awa ceremony. In Hawaiian tradition, Awa comes from the kava root and is used as a ceremonial drink and offering to akua and ʻaumakua (family or personal gods).

In conclusion of our Makahiki celebration, we shared our manaʻo (thoughts) with one another about ke aka (reflections) on life, love and gratitude for the many blessings in each of our lives. As one ʻohana we thank and appreciate each other for their commitment to the prosperity of our resort and caring for our guests. We look forward to the abundance of experiences, friendships and memories this new year and new season will bring.

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