Monday, December 7, 2009

This Week in Nature: The 2nd week in December - Mauna kea

What's Happening in Hawaii 
during the 2nd Week in December:

Mauna Kea
Photo by C. Tucker

The first snow comes to Mauna Kea about now, though it sometimes happens sooner. Snow may also fall on Mauna Loa and Haleakalā, but it lasts longest on Mauna Kea, whose very name means "white mountain." Poli'ahu, the goddess of snow and sister of Pele, was called  ka wahine kapa hau anu o Mauna Kea, "the woman who wears the cold snow cape of Mauna Kea."

Mauna Kea (foreground) and Mauna Loa. 
Photo by C. Tucker.

Generally ill-equipped for cold, Hawaiians stayed inside by wood fires when the weather got bitter. Naueue ka hi'u o ka i'a lewa i ke kai, says a proverb about this time of year: "The tails of the fish that move in the sea tremble." Even the fish are shivering.

Text taken from "Hawai'i: A Calendar of Natural Events" 
published by Bishop Museum and Kamehameha Schools in 1989

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