Welcome to kupulau!  Spring is upon us. Daylight savings time. We sprung forward with adjust our counting for those states whose times change. I like it that we in Hawaiʻi don’t change our time based on the seasons. What’s an hour either way, anyways? Who is fooling who?

When we were in elementary school, we learned that there are four seasons:

kupulau – spring (literally, sprouting leaves)

kauwela – summer (literally, hot season)

hāʻulelau – fall (literally, falling leaves)

hoʻoilo – winter

But, of course, anyone in Hawaiʻi knows that we don’t experience such distinct seasons as someone living in Pennsylvania.  We don’t watch the leaves change colors and fall in Autumn, and we don’t shovel snow from our walkways before work in the winter.  Basically, we don’t have four seasons in Hawaiʻi.

Hawaiians recognize two seasons:  Kau and Hoʻoilo.  Kau is the hot season, when the sun is directly overhead and days are long.  Hoʻoilo is the season when the sun declines towards the south and nights are long (and cold!).  There are six months in each.  These two seasons may vary in start/end time from island to island so this is all a generalized explanation.  In fact, according to Hawaiian historian, David Malo, Molokaʻi has three seasons, Makaliʻi, Kau and Hoʻoilo (that’s why I love Molokaʻi, always different!).

Though we cannot count on leaves changing color or making angels in the snow in our front yards in Hawaiʻi, there are certain other natural phenomena we look forward to during kau and hoʻoilo.  Let me name a few:  whales showing up, and kōlea, too, big surf and sand shifting in hoʻoilo, mangoes, lychee, calm waters, and Merrie Monarch (Haha!) in kau.

Now it’s your turn.  Comment below with things that happen here in Hawaiʻi that we can count on in kau (summer months) and hoʻoilo (winter months) and don’t forget to let me know which season it happens in!


Ua hiki mai ke kau kupulau – Spring season has arrived.

ʻO kēia ke kau kupulau – This is the Spring season.

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2 Responses to Kupulau

  1. Edana says:


    Here are a few more…southern swells, people standing in the ocean with bamboo poles catching ʻoama, termite season in kau. Honohono orchids bloom, Punahou carnival in hoʻoilo.

  2. Liana says:

    HONOHONO ORCHIDS! And yes to everything! Today actually begins the month of Welo when termites will be coming out!!! YIKES!

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