Makahiki games go on Saturday

LIHU‘E — Gates to Ka Moku O Manokalanipo Pa‘ani Makahiki, a free community event, open at 8:30 a.m. Saturday at the north Vidinha Stadium fields.

Everyone is invited to view the ancient Hawaiian games, cultural demonstrations, informational exhibits and displays, a Kaua‘i Made craft fair, and enjoy food during the event that honors the makahiki, a time of year when the god Lono ruled the land.

The makahiki season, traditionally starting with the rising of the Plaedes constellation in October and running for four months through February or March, is considered the ancient Hawaiian New Year festival to honor Lono, the Hawaiian god of agriculture and rain. The observance is known for its long period of peacefulness, when war ceased and the makahiki games become the measure of strength.

During the makahiki, people gathered to feast and enjoy the competitive games, thanking the gods for the abundance of the earth and asking for rain and prosperity in the coming days.

Anyone 5 and older is invited to participate in the 10 featured ancient Hawaiian games for awards that will be presented at the close of competition.

Prizes include first to third places in each of the 10 games, including pa uma, or standing wrist wrestling; o‘o ihi, or spear hurling; hukihuki, of tug of war; kukini, or foot race equivalent to the 50 yard dash; uma, or hand wrestling; ‘ulu maika, or Hawaiian bowling; maka moa, or chicken fighting; Konane, or a Hawaiian board game of strategy; moa pahe‘e, or Hawaiian dart sliding; and pohaku ho‘oikaika, or stone throwing.

Prizes are also set aside for the adult division games that include kukini and ano koa ki‘e ki‘e, or decathalon, that includes all 10 events.

There will also be overall awards for first through third places.

Registration for the games start at 8 a.m., with the competition starting at 10 a.m. following the opening protocol. There is no charge for entry to the makahiki games, or to participate in any of the games being offered.

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Dennis Fujimoto, staff writer and photographer, can be reached at 245-0453 or dfujimoto@thegardenisland.com.

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