Grand Hyatt’s annual Makahiki Festival coming next week

Honoring and perpetuating Hawaiian cultural practices, the Grand Hyatt Kauai Resort & Spa will host a makahiki celebration from Wednesday, Oct. 30 to Friday, Nov. 1, featuring music, games, presentations and more.

In Hawaiian history, makahiki season is a time of peace and rest. Makahiki begins when the Makali‘i (Pleiades) constellation rises after sunset, spanning roughly from the end of October through early February. This time of giving thanks honored the god of agriculture and rain, Lono, with intentions to ensure the land would continue to flourish. This time of rest from food production featured games to test mind, strength and skills, such as haka moa, ulu maika, konane and o‘o ihe.

“The celebration provides a great opportunity to educate colleagues, guests and residents about this important (and fun) time of year,” said Moani Tolentino, the resort’s manager of Hawaiian culture.

The resort’s founding manager of Hawaiian culture, the late Stella Burgess, began the event in 1995, then known as the Hawaiiana Festival. The celebration is complimentary and open to the public. The schedule follows.

Wednesday, Oct. 30

• 8:30 to 10:30 a.m., coconut weaving demonstration with Eugene “Onio” Punzal;

• 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., craft fair;

• 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., live Hawaiian entertainment;

• 9:30 to 11:30 a.m., makahiki games with ‘Ahahui Kiwila Hawai‘i o Mo‘ikeha;

• 5:30 to 7 p.m. discussion, “Who are the Menehune?” with aunty Aletha Kaohi.

Friday, Nov. 1

• 6:30 to 9:30 p.m., a night of Hawaiian falsetto at Seaview Terrace, featuring Kamakakehau Fernandez and Darren Benitez.

“This is a unique opportunity. It isn’t often that we are given an opportunity to play makahiki games, learn Hawaiian crafts, and listen to kupuna tell stories of our Menehune,” Tolentino said.

The Grand Hyatt Kauai Resort & Spa is on the beach in Poipu. Set on 50 acres, the resort features lush gardens, six restaurants, six lounges, a water playground, Anara Spa and championship golf at Poipu Bay Resort.

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