Celebrating Makahiki Season in Hawai‘i

Feb 16, 2021 | Blog

Hauʻoli makahiki hou! Happy new year! As we move into a new calendar year, we approach the end of makahiki season. Makahiki corresponds to the wet season, called hoʻoilo, and generally runs from mid-October to mid-February.

This is a time to honor Lono, the god of peace, agriculture and fertility. There were no large construction efforts, nor was there war in the makahiki season. As much of the usual fishing and farming work was suspended, makahiki was truly a time for rest, rejuvenation, and peace.

During this time, people celebrated the abundance that was created during the past year by gathering and feasting. They also competed in a variety of sports and games. It was a chance for individuals to display their strength, skill, and smarts, and provided the people with time to work on their physical well-being.



The land surrounding Kou, or Honolulu Harbor, was renowned as a place for sports, recreation, and entertainment. This included the area known today as Kaka‘ako.

During the reign of Kamehameha I, there were maika (a bowling type of game) fields in the area we now refer to as downtown Honolulu. People played kōnane (a checkers-like board game) all day and into the night.

Crowds came to the shoreline at Kakaʻako to listen to the daughters of King’s fishermen as they played the ‘ūkēkē (Hawaiian musical bow).

Mahi La Pierre talks about the ʻūkēkē.

Sounds of Hawaii – Ukeke from HIDOE – Video Production Branch on Vimeo.


Off shore, surfing enthusiasts rode the waves at Kou and the Kaka‘ako waterfront, while rowing and racing became a favorite pastime during Kalākaua’s time.

In more recent times, Ilaniwai Street was home to Kaka‘ako’s town hall, where many Hawaiians gathered to enjoy Hawaiian music and hula. The area produced great musicians and performers such as Gabby Pahinui, Genoa Keawe, Don Ho, Sol K. Bright and his family, and hula icons Keahi and ʻIolani Luahine, just to name a few.

Today in Our Kaka‘ako, sports, health and wellness, recreation and entertainment continue to be major components of the kaiāulu (community).

Exercise enthusiasts can get a quality workout at Sweat + Soul or Orangetheory Fitness.

ATH Organics is home to all-natural nutritional supplements as well as a small, private athletics training facility.

Cyclists and skateboarders can find the products and accessories they’re looking for at BikeFactory Hawaii.

Down To Earth Organic & Natural Kakaako provides a wide selection of healthy produce, foods and products.

And of course, Our Kaka‘ako is home to some of the best restaurants on O‘ahu, serving an array of delicious cuisines, from Hawaiian food to sushi and more!

So take time to rest and rejuvenate and to feast and have fun as we start the new year and welcome the growth and promise that it holds.


To learn more about makahiki, visit the Ka‘iwakīloumoku Hawaiian Cultural Center’s Digital Collections archive online.


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