Makahiki Worth the Wait
By The Molokai Dispatch Staff
Molokai waited a long time for this year’s community celebration of Ka Molokai Makahiki. With the past three years cancelled during the pandemic, the event was postponed again from a torrential rainstorm in January. Finally held last weekend, the opening ceremony and cultural protocol kicked off Friday evening followed by keiki giving it their all in the games.
“The rising of the Makali’i constellation on the eastern horizon during the setting of the sun in the west signals the beginning of Hawaiian new year, the season of Makahiki,” said Nahulu Maioho during the opening ceremonies. “This was a time set aside to give thanks and to celebrate life. This was a time dedicated to Lono, guardian of rain, agriculture, abundance and peace.”
Students from all of Molokai’s schools and kupuna representing each district entered the Kaunakakai Ball Park field to offer ho’okupu to Lono. After the opening ceremony, the games began.
Students competed against grade-level peers, cheering for their classmates and competitors alike. Even after particularly intense matches, the competitors brushed the grass from their knees and shook hands. From haka moa and kukini to ulu maika and konane, youth in Kindergarten through 12th grade took part of competitions of strength, endurance and intelligence.
Held on Friday, Feb. 24, this year’s event was the first time the celebration was held at night. It was also the first time in recent years that off-island schools did not travel for Ka Molokai Makahiki, a decision made by organizers in the wake of COVID to keep it local.