Talking Story

Hau’oli Makahiki Hou

(how-oh-lee mah-kah-he-key ho)

Hawaiian phrase. In Hawaii people say Hau‘oli Makahiki Hou when they wish someone a Happy New Year. It’s a direct translation from the English: hau‘oli means “happy” or “glad,” hou means “new” or “fresh,” and makahiki is easily translated into “year, age; annual.” Like most English adoptions into Hawaiian it works in a Spanglish sort of way.

But anciently makahiki referred to a season that began around mid-October and lasted four lunar  months. During this time there was feasting, religious observances and ceremonies, games, sports, dancing, a respite from work, and a kapu on war. It was a time of peace and prosperity in honor of the god Lono.

May you and your ‘ohana enjoy the aloha of the makahaki season all year long.

Hau‘oli Makahiki Hou!


English: Happy New Year!

Pidgin: Hau‘oli Makahiki Hou!

Note: ‘Ōlelo is a Hawaiian word meaning language, speech, word, etc.  To see the current list of Hawaiian and Pidgin words, definitions, and usage please click on

Pidgin Dictionary

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