Does Hawaii Have a Winter?

246772_2038314394142_3246539_nWith my raincoat and rain boots I was one happy kid on a winter day. The above house where I lived as a young girl in Daly City California was usually shrouded in fog. On a winter’s day which seemed to be all year-long I would dash out the door on my way to General Pershing Elementary and immediately jump into the gutter where the water was over flowing the curb.

I was a smart kid because I knew that the water would go into my boots and soak my socks and shoes. Why was that smart you may ask? I hated school and I knew that the teacher would see how wet I was and therefore sit me in the hallway on a bench with a heater under it.

Smiling, I would sit and miss a good hour of class. That was my winter in California.

IMAG0055This is my winter where I live in Hawaii. signs of winter? Well you can see there are not too many people on the beach in Waikiki. Who in their right mind would want to swim in 68 degree temperatures? You’ll notice that most of the people still have tee shirts over their bathing suits.Of course it is still early morning.

IMG_3104No leaves on the plumeria is a sure sign of winter. Oh, and you will notice there are gray skies above. But the plumeria seems to be the only tree that looses its leaves this time of year. Remember in Hawaii it’s a jungle out there.

DSCN0725Then there is this wall of orange flowers that has bloomed in the late fall. Pretty apropos since Halloween is just around the corner when you see this in bloom.


How did the ancient Hawaiians recognize winter? It was during this time that the Makahiki season began. The above symbol for the god Lono would be carried around the island and offerings were collected. When this was finished the official season would begin.

The Hawaiians knew this season by the rising of the constellation Makalii or Pleiades and they would put away all intentions of war and would play games. Games that would demonstrate ones skills such as throwing spears, or slings among other things. These would sharpen their ability to fight during a war.

Of course this being winter, the ocean would be to rough to paddle canoes to carry warriors to battle so this all made sense.



Navigating the long lines headed out to the North Shore  I see many signs of winter. Someone must have piled their stones to ask for big surf or maybe their work of art. In ancient times it was not unusual to see pohaku ( stones) piled or placed around a dwelling as the Hawaiians believed that stones could have mana or power.

DSCN2269But a dead sure sign of winter is this sign. I never get tired of looking at the waves. They are magnificent. Unfortunately I did not have my good camera with me and did not get any shots. I was having trouble looking into the viewer on my pocket camera and was lucky I even got these shots. Lessen here is never leave home without my Cannon.

DSCN2280                                    50 foot waves and higher are the surest signs of winter and that brings out all the surfers…..

1044422_10203000667967669_41725385_n                                     Gotta catch that wave.

DSCN2272                                                                                           and sightseers.

So you see, we do have winter in Hawaii. Ah it’s a bitter season but someone has to endure it. Never need my rain coat and boots anymore. Even if I had them it is too hot to use those rainy day items. What can I say. Lucky I live Hawaii.

The Pleiades Rises and Lono Arrives Update

Star Merope (23 Tau) in Pleiades (M45)

Image via Wikipedia

Ku on the left and the Akua Loa (representation of the god Lono) is on the right

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


The Albatross (Kaʻupu) hang from the top of the pole

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.