PLAYLIST: Ka Mahina Mālamalama / Songs about the Moon

The brilliant moonlight is surely one of the more universal images of romance. Whether bright or pale, full or new, waxing or waning, shimmer or glimmer, the moon‘s figures into songs of love. It is no surprise, then, that there is quite a list of mele that place the moon front and center.

Hawaiian knowledge about the moon and its phases was essential in old times. By the phases of the moon could be reckoned optimal times for planting and harvesting, for fishing, even for navigation and travel.

Here are several marvelous sources of information related to Hawaiian naming of moon phases.

1. Kamehameha Publishing has published a Hawaiian lunar calendar at Ke Ala o Ka Mahina, on the phases of the moon, night by night.

2. The Western Pacific Regional Fishery Management Council has an excellent page titled “Hawaiian Moon Phases and Traditional Natural Resource Management” that includes information on the Hawaiian lunar months and tide calendars.

3. The Lunar Times has a calendar of moonrise and set times and lunar data for Honolulu, O‘ahu.

4. Two sites that include explanation and cultural information on the phases of the moon are:  Hawaiian Lunar Phases at Instant Hawaii, and  “The Native Hawaiian Moon Calendar at

Here are two lines popular among haku mele (poets):

– ‘O ka pā kōnane a ka mahina — The moon shines brightly

– Pali ke kua, mahina ke alo — Back as straight as a cliff, face bright as the moon; said of a beautiful woman

And here is a list of song titles that clearly refer to moon. The list is off the top of my head, so further contributions are welcome!!

Hawaiian-language Songs

Beautiful Māhealani Moon

Mahina o Hōkū

Po Mahina

Po La‘ila‘i


English-language songs

Blue Hawaiian Moonlight

Hanalei Moon

Kona Moon

The Moon of Manakoora

Moonlight Lady

Moonlight and Shadows

Sweet Hawaiian Moonlight



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2 Responses to PLAYLIST: Ka Mahina Mālamalama / Songs about the Moon

  1. Auntie Maria says:

    Here are a few more that I found on various island vinyls and CDs…some may be rather obscure:

    (A Million) Moons Over Hawai`i
    Hawaiian Moon
    Hawaiian Moonlight
    Honolulu Moonlight
    Island Moon
    Kahala Moon
    Mahealani Moon
    Mahina Kau Ahiahi
    Mahina Malamalama
    Mahina Poepoe
    Maui Moon
    Maui Moonlight
    Me & You Beneath the Moon
    Moon & Stars
    Moonlight in Hawai`i
    Moonlight in Hilo
    Moonlight on Diamond Head
    Nawiliwili Moonglow
    Neath a Blue Hawaiian Moon
    Sweet Moonlight
    Under a Tropical Moon
    Under the Tropical Moon

  2. boo says:

    A topic very dear to my heart! Mahalo for this wonderful information.

    I wanted to note also that Kalei Nu’uhiwa does a fabulous monthly newsletter about the Hawaiian lunar month which is packed with all sorts of information. Anyone can get on her mailing list by sending a request email to hawaiianmooncalendar (at) yahoo (dot) com

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