Growing seasons and weather knowledge
Living so intimately with nature, Hawaiians had a vast vocabulary for weather and all its nuances. Weather – so elemental in the ancient lifestyle – played an important part in Hawaiian legends, myths, poetry and prayers. Weather could be understood as symbolizing human emotions and clouds were read for omens just as dreams were. While farmers and fishermen all had a keen awareness of weather signs, the kilo lani, or weatherman, had special powers of observation and held the accumulated weather knowledge of his region.
Ancient Hawaiians divided their year into two seasons: kau, the warmer summer months swept by reliable tradewinds (generally May to October) and ho`oilo, the cooler wetter months when tradewinds dissipated (November to April). Hawaiians divided their year into 12 lunar months and noted nights of certain moon phases as better for planting or weeding or harvesting. Farming season in general ran from February or March when taro, sweet potato and other crops were planted through June when sweet potatoes could be harvested, to August and September when the widescale harvest and tithing took place.
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