What is Makahiki?
Makahiki is a sacred time for Native Hawaiians, a time of peace and cessation of warfare. It is considered a time to appreciate all that has been harvested and to share in the gathered abundance. People also come together to learn collective wisdom from shared stories. Lono, is the god of fertility and agriculture and is the akua (god) of the Makahiki Season. He reestablishes the vitality of the land and nourishes the garden of the people.
The Makahiki season is a four-month period of the year, beginning with the first sighting of the makaliʻi (the constellation Pleiades) in late October or early November on the horizon. As the year’s harvest was gathered, tribute in the form of goods and produce were given to the chiefs from November through December. Various rites of purification and celebration in December and January closed the observance of the makahiki season.
While the lands rest and are softened by the rains in preparation of the new planting season, all wars were prohibited and goodwill prevailed. The chiefs joined with the kanaka (the people) in feasting, testing of argumentative skills and athletic competition.