Hawaiian Lunar Calendar:

Kaulana Mahina

Part of "Growing Food"

To bring your planting activity more in line with traditional Hawaiian practices, consider using the Hawaiian lunar calendar to guide your schedule. Many cultures have similar practices following the moon phases for farming and fishing, and the system is time tested through generations. 

  

This introductory passage from Ulukau, the Hawaiian online library, describes the role of the moon in Hawaiian culture. You are strongly encouraged to visit the Ulukau.org website for much more information:

 

"The moon was very important to the survival of Hawaiians... The moon, Mahina, was family. Personified, she was the goddess Hina. She gave us the cycle of birth, life, death and rebirth each month- without fail. By her very nature of predictability, she was a reliable source of information that insured survival across generations.

 

Just as lunar patterns and cycles were distinguished by nightly observations, so were correlating patterns and cycles noted in the sky, land and among living things on earth. Planting and fishing patterns were developed in alignment with lunar patterns that gave optimum yields.

 

The times for resting fishing grounds or gardens were just as important, and also widely known, because of the moon. Hawaiian knowledge of the moon names, functions and rhythms was a common knowledge, shared with all, because the moon was a benevolent provider of time proven, life giving resources and knowledge. As such, great reverence was given to the moon, and chants were offered in her honor."

To deepen your understanding of Kaulana Mahina, follow the Useful Link to an excellent in-depth presentation by Hawaiian researcher and Ethnoscience educator Kalei Nuʻuhiwa, made publicly available online by Kamehameha Schools. Then use the publicly available interactive online Hawaiian Moon Calendar to begin familiarizing yourself with the moon phases and their associated planting acitivities. Also included are links to how one organization called Hoʻokuaʻāina uses the moon calendar in their keiki programs.

Useful Links:
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An in-depth lecture covering the many aspects of the Hawaiian moon and its meaning in Hawaiian culture.

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Great article describing how this legacy farm plants by the moon calendar.

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Experiment with this 2020 Moon Calendar from Kamehameha Publishing.

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Mele Helu Pō - Learn the song and handgame that teaches keiki that Hawaiian moon calendar.

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