Lono is the god of the winter season and Ku is the god of summer. Ku will now be draped as it is not his time.
The winds are beginning to blow and the rain is coming down and storms are on the horizon. The rain that falls gives life to the plants, herbs and medicinal plants.These particular plants are a part of the god Lono who, among his other responsibilities is the God of Medicine. In the winter sky the constellation Pleiades has risen. Many different events have come together marking the beginning of the winter or Hoʻoilo.
In the distance traveling clockwise around the island of Hawaii, a 16 foot pole with a strip of white Kapa cloth can be seen. As it gets closer the carving of a human head sits at the top of the pole and long strips of yellow feathers hang on the sides. In the middle of the pole can be seen the kaʻupu (albatross) hanging. The Kapa cloth, pole and image is the representation of the god Lono or what is called The Akua Loa.
The entourage of priest approach each of the ahupuaʻa (land divisions) to collect the offerings. The farmers with their best crops, people offering the best of what they have made, all greet the Akua Loa.
Once all of the offerings have been collected and deemed worthy ,the Makahiki games will begin. The kapu has gone out. There are to be no wars, work, or fishing. All the crops will have been picked and only hand work such as finishing gourds for containers or fishnets etc. will be done by the fires in the hales (huts)
Late October or November were the months when this took place. Many a warrior participated in the games of the season to show off their abilities. The games were such that would suit the soldier and show what his worth was.
I know that living here in Hawaii and having lived in San Francisco for the first 20 years of my life, I would say their is only one season on the island of Oahu. Hot, or sunny. Then of course there is the rain but itʻs still hot. I guess I consider it winter when I have to sleep with a heavy blanket on my bed. I really consider it a cold night when I donʻt kick the blanket off before morning.
In this type of climate you can just about say “let the games begin” any time of year. But for us at Bishop Museum it is a special time when we see the god Ku covered and the Akua Loa appear. It is a special event that the docents wait for. The visitors will have plenty of questions and we will enjoy talking about this time in ancient Hawaiian history
My aunt asked me to update this blog for those of you who may have never been to Hawaii. Yes it does get very cold on these islands. We do have a winter. That’s if you live on the big island of Hawaii. In fact it snows and people go skiing on the mountain of Mauna Kea. This is where all of the worlds observatories are.
The temperatures can drop down in to the 40’s during the day on that mountain. I’ve been on the Big Island when it has been in the low 60’s. It just depends on which side of the island you are on because the temperatures are very diverse.