By Tom Clements, Navy Region Hawaii Environmental Public Affairs Officer
Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam (JBPHH) and Navy Region Hawaii will celebrate Kapuaikaula Makahiki starting at 9 a.m. Nov. 8 at Hickam Harbor Beach.
Military and civilian personnel, their families and sponsored guests are invited to observe makahiki, an ancient Hawaiian celebration known as a “Hawaiian Thanksgiving.”
The free event is organized by the Oahu Council of Hawaiian Civic Clubs, in partnership with JBPHH. Families are invited to bring their beach chairs and mats to enjoy the festivities and take part in makahiki games, such as o’o (spear throwing) and ulu maika (stone rolling).
Winners will receive homemade kahili, or feather standard, as prize and compete for the “grand champion” prize.
Before the makahiki begins, paddlers in canoes carrying the Hawaiian deity Lono will make a journey from Iroquois Point to Hickam Harbor. Once near shore, the blast of the pu (conch shell), will announce their arrival, ushering the start of the makahiki with a procession from the beach to the makahiki site in the grassy area near Sam Choy’s Seafood Grille.
In ancient Hawaiian history, Lono was the embodiment of peace and welfare, and all warfare was strictly forbidden during the time of makahiki. The focus on health and welfare made games of skill that tested a healthy body and mind a focal point of the makahiki games.
For more than 2,000 years, the significance of Lono and his contributions to the beliefs and practices of the early Hawaiian people influenced the celebration of events held during makahiki festivals throughout the Hawaiian Islands.
According to the ancient calendar of Hawaii, the Hawaiian new year begins on the first night of the rising star constellation Makali’i, or Pleiades. The four months following the rise of the Makali’i, from October to the end of January, were set aside as a time for Lono, to give thanksgiving for the bounty of land and sea.
For more information, contact the Navy Region Hawaii environmental public affairs officer at (808) 473-0662 or the Navy Region Hawaii environmental outreach coordinator at (808) 473-0369.