The Dance of the Seasons — Makahiki and More Celebrations

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The Dance of the Seasons — Makahiki and More Celebrations

By Virginia Beck

Kolea

Photo by Hob Osterland

Kaua‘i is always pulsating with the rhythms of life. Surf pounds and surges along the shoreline, children scurry off to meet the school bus, palm trees rock in the returning breezes; and the rain beats out a steady bass line on the roof, while the gutters gurgle and gush outside.

We are all responding to the rhythms around us; from music to traffic, to the inner clock that wakes us or sends us to bed. The fall equinox is past, the time when the days and nights are of equal length; and now the tilt of the Earth’s axis as we swing past the Sun will give us shorter days and longer nights.

Not as dramatic as in the Northern Hemisphere, but still noticeable enough to send us scurrying to finish our tasks before the year’s end. We nudge ourselves into the day with a bit more effort as the Sun seems to be sleeping in. Some of us will start our days in darkness. We may need a stronger mental push to exercise before work, or learn more efficiency to finish our work in time to join the sunset for a beach walk.

The trade winds are back, beating the trees into a wild dance, sending leaves, blossoms and fragrance flying. These winds bring rain in abundance, and the rainbows for which Kaua‘i is famous; sky jewelry found nearly everyday, somewhere, on our green island.

Named for the sailing ships that came from the east, these winds bring relief from the hot summer weather, days of sweltering Kona weather and humidity. The trees shake their shaggy heads with joy. Rainbow shower trees toss drifts of petals, like confetti along the streets.

Strawberry guava trees, studded with bright crimson fruit attract cardinals, mynah birds, and the occasional shama thrush. Birds are feasting and sometimes a bit tipsy on the fermenting wind-fallen fruit. Citrus trees all over the island are loaded with fruit, and avocados and mangoes grow too heavy for their branches; just right for guacamole and salsa. Time to hit the farmers’ markets!

Kolea, or the Pacific golden plover, is one of the first of our snowbirds to arrive. They spend the fall and winter months here, and then return to their breeding grounds in the far north, Alaska and Siberia. They need the 20 hours of arctic sun shining each day to breed. That is a 2,000, mile non-stop flight over the oceans, without a jet. No wonder their Hawaiian name means “boastful.” They have a lot to brag about.

Makahiki season lasts four months on the Hawaiian astronomical, or lunar, calendar.

Starting in October or November, and marked by the rise of the Makali‘i, or Pleiades; this is a season to celebrate the bounty of the land with religious celebrations, festivals and games. During Makahiki season, war is forbidden. It was believed no activities which might harm the ‘aina, or land, could be allowed, as this could harm the future fruitfulness of the island.

A time to celebrate life and stop war. Don’t we all need more of that? Whether Hawaiian, Christian, Jewish, Muslim or Buddhist; animist, pagan or atheist, there is always a need for peace, celebration and feasting. Forget politics and have a party!

The generosity of our community will overflow in craft fairs, luaus, sports events, picnics and holiday meals, leaving no one out. Visitors, welcomed guests and returning family members, all return to our beautiful Kaua‘i and the lifestyle of aloha. There is no celebration like arriving back home, especially on Kaua‘i!

  • Virginia Beck, NP and Certified Trager® Practitioner, offers Wellness Consultation, Trager Psychophysical Integration and teaches Malama Birth Training classes. She can be reached at 635-5618
By | 2016-11-10T05:40:57+00:00 October 26th, 2015|1 Comment

About the Author:

Léo Azambuja, editor of For Kaua‘i, has won multiple journalism awards in the state of Hawai‘i, including investigative and enterprise reporting, spot news and feature writing, photojournalism and online reporting.

One Comment

  1. Virginia Beck November 25, 2015 at 2:59 pm - Reply

    This photo should be attributed to Hob Osterland

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