May – Ikiiki/Welehu


May is the start of the Kauwela (Dry Season) and sees the Hōkūle’a (Arcturus) star rise in the east/northeast evening sky. May is also when juvenile ʻoʻopu nākea (hinana) travel up rivers and streams. Hinana was a highly prized fish, and May is one of the best months to fish for them. At Waimea River on Kaua’i, some say there are so many hinana in May that one can’t even swim in the river without touching the fish, 

Ka iʻa ho opā ʻili kanaka o Waimea
The fish of Waimea that touch the skins of people

‘O‘opu nākea. Source: Bishop Museum

Hawaiian women using a net to catch hinana at the Waimea River, Kauai. Source: Windy Nixon,

In May, nai’a (spinner dolphins) swim near shore as food is plentiful. Nai’a inspire another Hawaiian saying–If one person jumps to a conclusion quickly, another might say, 

Henai’a, he i’a lele!
It is a dolphin, a leaping fish!

Nai’i (spinner dolphin) jumping out of the water. Source: Na Pali Riders

Sources: Project Kāhea Loko – A Teacher’s Guide to Hawaiian Fishponds; 2016 Hawaiian Lunar Calendar (Classroom edition) by Western Pacific Regional Fishery Management Council