Makahiki: An Ancient Celebration

Ka'anapali Beach Hotel Celebrates Culture

Makahiki: An Ancient Celebration

Makahiki, or "the season of harvest", is an ancient Hawaiian celebration that brought together high-ranking chiefs and commoners, all of whom paid tribute to the ali'i nui, or king. Games that showcased strength and smarts, elaborate gifts and a feast were a part of the procession. For the last two years, the staff at Ka'anapali Beach Hotel have band together to create their own offerings. It's not just a spectacle for guests; it's a link to their ancestors.

Some history: Makahiki begins when the constellation Pleiades (known as "Makali'i" in Hawaiian astronomy) shows on the horizon, either in late October or early November. Winter has officially begun when the Makali'i begins to rise at sunset, set at dawn, and is visible most of the night. It's at this time that the ancient Hawaiians would take personal rest, renewing their spirit and focusing on the simpler of daily tasks. It was a time when wars were forbidden; it was out of respect for the ali'i, or king, that it was a peaceful time.

Farmers and fisherman would present their harvest and catch to the king for four months, ending in the Spring. Families of different villages would plot all year long what they would present to their ali'i as a tax, of sorts. Feather work (robes and helmets), weapons, drums, hula paraphernalia and other items were collected by the land managers, and presented to the ali'i.

Sharing just as much with each other as they do with the guests of the hotel, the Ka'anapali Beach staff began re-instituting the Makahiki season in 2007. The room attendants weaved extravagant shawls out of feathers; bell hops carved wooden weapons; the management embarked on their own projects, including the carving of a canoe. Over 100 items were completed by KBH employees in the first year (presented in February 2008). Many of these objects are on display in the hotel's lobby.

This February, the employees of KBH celebrated their second Makahiki season with a cultural event yet to be rivaled in Ka'anapali. Music, a parade and the presentation of over 80 Hawaiian items crafted by the employees themselves took place on the hotel's grounds. From the opening ceremony to the games competition and closing hula, all present felt a camaraderie  special to this venue.

If you would like to hear more about the Makahiki or Ka'anapali Beach Hotel, visit www.KBHMaui.com.
[Thank you to Hope Beam for sharing the history of the Makahiki with B on Hawaii.]

This February, the employees of KBH celebrated their second Makahiki season with a cultural event yet to be rivaled in Ka'anapali.