HAWAIIAN MOON CALENDAR


 

The Gregorian calendar (modern calendar used today) is the most widely used civil calendar in the world and is based on the earths rotation around the sun.  The  Hawaiian Lunar calendar is based on the rotation of the moon around the earth.  As such the current modern calendar counts days while the Hawaiian calendar counts nights.

Traditionally, Hawaiians divide the lunar cycle of approximately 30 pō (24-hour periods) into three anahulu ( Three 10-day- long weeks)  Each Anahulu is based on the waxing or waning of the moon.

 

The anahulu are named:    Ho‘onui (i.e., to grow bigger), Poepoe (i.e., rounding), and Emi (i.e., to fade away or decrease in size).

 

The Anahulu of Ho‘onui include Hilo, Hoaka, Kūkahi, Kūlua, Kūkolu, Kūpau, ʻOle Kūkahi, ʻOle Kūlua, ‘Ole Kūkolu, and ‘Ole Pau;

 

Poepoe includes Huna, Mōhalu, Hua, Akua, Hoku, Māhealani, Kulu, Lā‘au Kūkahi, Lā‘au Kūlua, and Lā‘au Pau;

 

Emi includes ‘Ole Kūkahi, ‘Ole Kūlua, ‘Ole Pau, Kāloa Kūkahi, Kāloa Kūlua, Kāloa Pau, Kāne, Lono, Mauli, and Muku. Activities relating to fishing, agriculture, and worship were carried out only on certain days, when predicted to be most fruitful.

 

The beginning of a month is when the HILO moon is seen setting in the west at Sunset.

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Hilo

 

Hilo
(First night)

The appearance of the setting moon in the western horizon evening sky marks this first night of the month. This new moon appears as a 'slender' or 'twisted' sliver(hilo). On this night, fish 'hide' in the reef areas, and deep sea fishing is good. Foods maturing underground will 'hide'. Some feel they will be small like the moon they are maturing under.Hilo was a famous Hawaiian navigator. Hilo can mean twisted or braided. The third meaning for Hilo is the first, or new moon, and it was derived from the other two meanings. As the slender new moon sets in the western sky it often has a twisted appearance thus having the name Hilo. Also, because this is the first moon it acts as a navigator for the moons to follow. Low tides in the late morning and late night with a high tide in the late afternoon

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Hoaka

Hoaka
(Second night)

Hoaka literally translated, means crescent. It also means 'spirit or ghost'. On this second night of the month the`uhane(soul of a spirit) cast shadows and frighten fish away.

The Moon rises in the mid morining and is not visible until the sun sets and the moon is in the Western sky.

Tides run relatively high in the early morning with a low tide occuring during mid day.

 

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Kūkahi

 

Ku Kahi, Ku Lua
Ku Kolu, Ku Pau
(Third to sixth night) 

These are the first, second, third and fourth nights of Ku. The Kapu period of Kuends with the 'First Ku'. Many farmers believe this to be a good time to plant'uala(sweet potato) and kalo(taro), as they will grow 'upright' or 'erect'(ku) in the lepo(soil). This is a good fishing period but ocean currents will soon change.

The Moon rises in the mid morning and is not visible until the sun sets and the moon is in the Western sky.

Tides run relatively high in the early morning with a low tide occurring during mid day.

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Kūlua

 

The 3rd through 6th moon phases correspond with the first four nights of Ku. The end of the first moon, Kūkahi ends the kapu (forbidden) period of Ku and marks a period where typically taro was planted (Kū means 'erect', thus the meaning here is for plants to grow strong and erect). This series of four days also indicates good fishing.

The Moon rises in the mid morning and is not visible until the sun sets and the moon is in the Western sky.

Tides run relatively high in the early morning with a low tide occurring during mid day.

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Kūkolu

The 3rd through 6th moon phases correspond with the first four nights of Ku. The end of the first moon, Kūkahi ends the kapu (forbidden) period of Ku and marks a period where typically taro was planted (Kū means 'erect', thus the meaning here is for plants to grow strong and erect). This series of four days also indicates good fishing.

The Moon rises in the mid morining and is not visible until the sun sets and the moon is in the Western sky.

Tides run high in the early morning with a low tide occuring during mid day.

 

Kūpau

 

The 3rd through 6th moon phases correspond with the first four nights of Ku. The end of the first moon, Kūkahi ends the kapu (forbidden) period of Ku and marks a period where typically taro was planted (Kū means 'erect', thus the meaning here is for plants to grow strong and erect). This series of four days also indicates good fishing.

The Moon rises in the mid morining and is not visible until the sun sets and the moon is in the Western sky.

Tides run relatively high in the early morning with a low tide occuring during mid day.

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ʻOlekūkahi

The 7th through 10th moon phase names all start with 'Ole which translates into nothing or unproductive. These days were named because fishing is poor due to high tides and rough ocean. Little planting was done until the final day where the ending pau, which means done or finished marked the end of the rough weather.

 
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ʻOlekūlua

The 7th through 10th moon phase names all start with 'Ole which translates into nothing or unproductive. These days were named because fishing is poor due to high tides and rough ocean. Little planting was done until the final day where the ending pau, which means done or finished marked the end of the rough weather.

Low tide occurs in the afternoon with a moderate "high tide" occuiring in the mid morning.

 
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ʻOlekūkolu

The 7th through 10th moon phase names all start with 'Ole which translates into nothing or unproductive. These days were named because fishing is poor due to high tides and rough ocean. Little planting was done until the final day where the ending pau, which means done or finished marked the end of the rough weather.Low tide occurs in the afternoon with a moderate "high tide" occuiring in the mid morning.

 

 
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ʻOlepau

The 7th through 10th moon phase names all start with 'Ole which translates into nothing or unproductive. These days were named because fishing is poor due to high tides and rough ocean. Little planting was done until the final day where the ending pau, which means done or finished marked the end of the rough weather. Low tide occurs in the midmorning with a moderate high tide at mid day with a second low tide in the early evening.

 
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Huna

Huna means small, or hidden as well as thorned, or horned. Putting the two meanings together and we would have hidden horns which describes the shape of this moon. This is a good time for plants that normally hide, such as root vegetables and gourds. This is also a good time for fishing as the fish tend to hide in their holes.  Low tides occur in the mid morning and early evening with a high tide in the mid afternoon.

 
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Mohalu

The 12th phase marks a sacred night to the God Kāne so fish and seaweed as well as fruits were forbidden to be eaten. However, this night was also good for planting vegetables for which you wanted them to resemble the roundness of the moon.

Low tide occures in mid morning and late evening with a high tide in mid afternoon.

 
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Hua

Hua means egg, fruit and seed, among other things. The meaning egg refered to the near full shape of the moon. This was a sacred night to Lono and it was good luck for planting and fishing. The Hawaiians considered there to be four full moons and Hua marked the first of the full moons.

Low tides occure in the mid morning and mid evening with a high tide in the mid afternoon.

 
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Akua

Akua means God, Goddess as well as corpse, devil and idol. This is the second full Hawaiian moon and is near the full round shape. This was a good night for fishing. Offerings were often made on this evening to the Gods where walking about.

Low tide occures in the late morning and late evening with a hight tide in the late afternoon

 
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Hoku

The third day of the four Hawaiian full moons was believed to be the fullest moon and was good for anything that was planted in rows.

Low tides occure Late morning into mid day with a high tide occuring in the late afternoon into the early evening.

 
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Māhealani

This 16th lunar phase was the last night of the four Hawaiian full moon and was good for all types of work, planting and fishing. As you can see, the Hawaiians took full advantage of the four full moons. Low tides occure Late morning into mid day with a high tide occuring in the late afternoon into the early evening.

 
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Kulu

The first moon following the four full moons was considered a time to give gifts of the first harvests to the Gods and Goddesses. Fishing was also considered good during this time.

Low tides occur mid day and late night with a high tide in the early evening and very early morning

 
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Lāʻaukūkahi

The Hawaiian word Lā'au means just about any type of vegetation, trees, etc. Thus these three nights were associated with trees and plants. Planting of certain types of fruit were discouraged during this period because they would be woody instead of tender, though other types of plantings could occur. This period was also an important time for the healers to go out and locate herbs for medicines. Low tides occur mid day and late night with a high tide in the early evening and very early morning

 

Lāʻaukūlua

The Hawaiian word Lā'au means just about any type of vegetation, trees, etc. Thus these three nights were associated with trees and plants. Planting of certain types of fruit were discouraged during this period because they would be woody instead of tender, though other types of plantings could occur. This period was also an important time for the healers to go out and locate herbs for medicines. Low tides occur mid day and late night with a high tide in the early evening and early morning

 
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Lāʻaupau

The Hawaiian word Lā'au means just about any type of vegetation, trees, etc. Thus these three nights were associated with trees and plants. Planting of certain types of fruit were discouraged during this period because they would be woody instead of tender, though other types of plantings could occur. This period was also an important time for the healers to go out and locate herbs for medicines.Low tides occur mid day and late night with a high tide in the early evening and early morning

 
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ʻOlekūkahi

Again we enter a series of three unproductive ('Ole) nights. During this time people avoided planting and fishing, though farmers would weed and otherwise tidy up. The final day belonged to the Gods Kaloa and Kanaloa and people offered prayers to these Gods on this day.  "lower high tide mid morning and and a low tide at midday.

 
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ʻOlekūlua

Again we enter a series of three unproductive ('Ole) nights. During this time people avoided planting and fishing, though farmers would weed and otherwise tidy up. The final day belonged to the Gods Kaloa and Kanaloa and people offered prayers to these Gods on this day. Minor tide fluctuation during the day with a high tide late night.

 
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ʻOlepau

Again we enter a series of three unproductive ('Ole) nights. During this time people avoided planting and fishing, though farmers would weed and otherwise tidy up. The final day belonged to the Gods Kaloa and Kanaloa and people offered prayers to these Gods on this day.Minor tide fluctuation during the day with a high tide late night.

 
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Kāloakūkahi

The 24th through 26th lunar phase mark the three nights of Kāloa. The first night of Kāloa continues the worship of Kanaloa from the previous 'Ole Pau night. Planting of long stemed plants as well as vines are encouraged and fishing is good through these three days, especially shellfish.

 
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Kāloakūlua

The 24th through 26th lunar phase mark the three nights of Kāloa. The first night of Kāloa continues the worship of Kanaloa from the previous 'Ole Pau night. Planting of long stemed plants as well as vines are encouraged and fishing is good through these three days, especially shellfish.Minor tide fluctuation during the day with a high tide late night.

 
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Kāloapau

The 24th through 26th lunar phase mark the three nights of Kāloa. The first night of Kāloa continues the worship of Kanaloa from the previous 'Ole Pau night. Planting of long stemed plants as well as vines are encouraged and fishing is good through these three days, especially shellfish. Low tides mid morning and early evning with a high tide in the early afternoon.

 
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Kāne

The 27th lunar moon marks a two day period of worship to the Gods Kāne and Lono. This was a very strictly enforced kapu and most of this period was devoted to prayer to the Gods.Low tides mid morning and early evning with a high tide in the early afternoon.

 
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Lono

The 28th lunar moon continues from the previous night of worship to Kāne and Lono, with emphasis switching to the God Lono and prayers for rain. Low tides mid morning and early evning with a high tide in the early afternoon.

 
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Mauli

This moon usually rises with daylight. Fishing was encouraged due to lower tides and marriages were often performed on this day.Low tides mid morning and early evning with a high tide in the early afternoon.

 
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Muku

This final lunar phase finds the moon rising completely with the shaded side of the moon facing the earth. Fishing is considererd good.Low tides mid morning and early evning with a high tide in the early afternoon.