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 www.angelfire.com.
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!!
Beautiful Māhealani Moon
Mahina o Hōkū
Blue Hawaiian Moonlight
The Moon of Manakoora
Moonlight and Shadows
Sweet Hawaiian Moonlight