`Ôlelo No`eau / Proverbs & Sayings

Nâ Kino o ka Lani:
Ka Lâ, ka Mahina, a me nâ Hôkû

 Heavenly Bodies:
The Sun, the Moon, and the Stars


Ke kumu / Source: Pukui, Mary Kawena, `Ôlelo No`eau: Hawaiian Proverbs and Poetical Sayings, Bishop Museum,
Honolulu, Hawai`i, 1983.

`Ôlelo No`eau: Index

Ka Lâ

The Sun

Ka Mahina

The Moon

Nâ Hôkû

The Stars

Pronunciation Guide

`Ôlelo No`eau: Ka Lâ / The Sun

# 18

Ahu kupanaha ka lâ i Mânâ.

Peculiar is the action of the sun in Mânâ.

Said of a delusion. Mânâ, Kaua`i is a place where
mirages were once seen.


# 33

Aia i ka wela ke po`o o ke keiki i ka lâ.

When the head of the sun is warmed by the sun.

When he is old enough to toddle or creep by
himself into the sunlight.


# 155

`A`ohe ipu `ôpio e `ole ka mimino i ka lâ.

No immature gourd can withstand withering
in the sun (without care.)

No child can get along without adult supervision.


# 395

Ha`ale i ka lâ ka mea mahana.

Has left the warmth of the sun.

Has died.


# 619

He `ike `ana ia i ka pono.

The morning is full of strength for youth, but when the sun is high they become tired and run.

Said of the young who do not work as persistently as their parents
-- they start well but soon quit.


# 635

He `îna`i na ka wela a ka lâ

Meat consumed by the heat of the sun.

Said of one who has a severe sunburn.


# 744

Hele ka ho`i a hiki i Kalia, ua napo`o ka lâ.

When one reaches Kealia at last, the sun is set.

Said of one who procrastinates. A play on alia (to wait).


# 839

He Napo`opo`o i `ikea ke po`o,
he Napo`opo`o no i `ikea ka pepeiao.

A (person of) Napo`opo`o whose head is seen;
a Napo`opo`o no whose ears are seen.

A play on napo`o (to sink), as the sun sinks in the west.
Not matter what your claim to rank may be, we can see that
your mindfulness of etiquette is equally low.


# 983

He weo ke kanaka; he pano ke ali`i.

A commoner is dark; a chief is darker still.

A commoner is reddened in the sunlight and is as
approachable as day; but a chief surrounded by
kapu is as unapproachableas the black of night.


# 990

Hiki mai ka lâ ma Ha`eha`e,
maluna mai o Kuki`i.

The sun rises at Ha`eha`e, above Kuki`i.

Ha`eha`e, in Puna, Hawai`i, is often called the gateway
of the sun. Kuki`i is a place in Puna.


# 1144

Hulili ka lâ i ke kula o Makahu`ena,
he huaka`i `oi`o.

When the sunlight vibrates over the plains of
of Makahu`ena, a procession of ghosts
is going through.

A saying used when the heat of the sun appears to vibrate.
The huaka`i `oi`o is a procession of departed
chiefs and their followers.


# 1144

Hulili wela ka lâ o Maunaloa.

The sun is shining on Maunaloa makes
it vibrate with heat.

Maunaloa, Moloka`i, is a very warm place.


# 1164

I hole `ia no ka i`e i ke kau o ka lâ.

The time to cut designs in a tapa beater
is when the sun is high.

Do your work when you can do your best.


# 1422

Ka lâ i ka Mauliola.

The sun at the source of life.

Mauli-ola (Breath of Life) is the god of health.


# 1427

Kala kahiko i au wale ai ka lâ.

The sun has gone down long since.

A reply to one who asks about something that took
place a long time ago.


# 1428

Ka lâ koi hana o Lahainaluna.

The sun of Lahainaluna urges one to work.

Daytime at the Lahainaluna School occupied
with studying and working.


# 1484

Ka moa i hânai `ia ka lâ, ua `oi ia
i ka moa i hânai `ia i ka malu.

A chicken fed in the sunlight is stronger
than one fed in the shade.

If you want a strong child, raise the child
with plenty sunlight.


# 1488

Ka moku kâ`ili lâ o Manokalanipo.

The sun-snatching island of Manokalanipo.

Kaua`i, the northwesternmost island of the group,
beyond which the sun vanishes at dusk.
Manokalanipo was an ancient ruler of Kaua`i.


# 1524

Kapakahi ka lâ ma Wai`anae.

Lopsided is the sun in Wai`anae.

Used to refer to anything lopsided, crooked, or not right.
First uttered by Hi`iaka in a rebuke to Lohi`au and
Wahine`ôma`o for talking when she warned them not to.


# 1611

Kau ka lâ i ka lolo, ho`i ke aka i ke kino.

The sun stands over the brain, the shadow
retreats into the body.

Said of high noon, when the sun is directly overhead and
no shadows are seen -- an important time for some
ancient rites and ceremonies.


# 1618

Kaula`i na iwi i ka lâ.

To bleach the bones in the sun.

To talk freely and unkindly of one's family to outsiders.


# 1630

Ka`û malo `eka, kua wehi.

Ka`û of the dirty loincloth and black back.

The soil of Ka`û is not easy to till. The farmers there
squatted on their haunches and worked the soil with
short digging sticks. The sun darkened their backs.


# 1643

Ka wahine hele lâ o Kaiona,
alualu wai li`ulâ o ke kaha pua `ôhai.

The woman, Kaiona, who travels in the sunshine pursuing the mirage of the place where
the `ôhai blossoms grow.

Kaiona was a goddess of Ka`ala and the Wai`ane Mountains. She was a kind person who helped anyone who lost his way in the mountains by sending a bird, an `iwa, to guide the lost one
out of the forest. In modern times Princess Bernice
Pauahi Bishop was compared to Kaiona in songs.


# 1706

Keiki kâohi lâ o Kumukahi.

The child that hold back the sun at Kumukahi.

Praise of an outstanding youth of Puna. Kumukahi is the eastern point of Hawai`i, the place where the sun comes up.


# 1811

Ko`ele na iwi o Hua i ka lâ.

The bones of Hua rattled in the sun.

A warning not to talk too much of one's kin. Also, a reminder that trouble is sure to befall those who destroy the innocent. Hua was a chief of Maui who heeded the lies of jealous men and ordered the death of his faithful priest, Luaho`omoe. Before he died, he sent his sons to the mountains for safety, because it was foretold by gods what was to come over the land. After his death, drought and famine came. Many died, including the chief Hua. There was no one to hide his remains, so his bones were left exposed to sun and wind. Also expressed Nakeke na iwi


# 1848

Konohiki lua ka lâ i Olowalu.

The heat of the sun rules in Olowalu.

Said of one who permits the heat of anger to possess him.
Olowalu, Maui is known for its warm climate.


# 1908

Kûkulu kala`ihi ka lâ i Mânâ.

The sun sets up mirages at Mânâ.

Said of a boastful person who exaggerates.


# 2012

Li`uli`u wale ka nohona i ka lâ o Hauola,
a holoholo i ke one o `Alio.

Long has one tarried in the sunlight of Hauola and walked on the sands of `Alio.

Said in praise of an aged person. There is a play on
ola (life) in the name Hauola.


# 2058

Mai ka hikina a ka lâ i Kumukahi
a ka welona a ka lâ i Lehua.

From the sunrise at Kumukahi to the
fading sunlight at Lehua.

From sunrise to sunset, Kumukahi, in Puna, Hawai`i, was called the land of the sunrise, and Lehua, the land of the sunset.
This saying refers to a life span -- from birth to death.


# 2062

Mai ka lâ hiki a ka lâ kau.

From the sun's arrival to the sun's rest.

Said of a day, from sunrise to sunset. This phrase is much used in prayers. Any mention of the setting of the sun was avoided in prayers for the sick; instead one referred to the sun's rest, thus suggesting rest and renewal rather than permanent departure.


# 2063

Mai ka lâ `ô`ili i Ha`eha`e a hâli`i
i ka mole o Lehua.

From the appearance of the sun at Ha`eha`e till it spreads its light to the foundation of Lehua.

Ha`eha`e is a place at Kumukahi, Puna, Hawai`i, often
referred to in poetry as the gateway of the sun.


# 2064

Mai ka `ô`ili ana a ka lâ i Kumukahi a ka lâ iho aku i ka mole `olu o Lehua.

From the appearance of the sun at Kumukahi till its descent beyond the pleasant base of Lehua.

From the sunrise at Kumukahi, in Puna, Hawai`i, to the sunset beyond the islet of Lehua.


# 2070

Mai ke kai kuwâ e nû ana i ka ulu
hala o Kea`au a ka `âina kâ`ili lâ
o lalo o ka Waikû`auhoe.

From the noisy sea that moans to the hala grooves of Kea`au, to the land that snatches away the sun,
below Waikû`auhoe.

From Puna, Hawai`i, where the sun was said to rise, to Lehua, beyond Waikû`auhoe, where it vanishes out of sight.


# 2126

Malô ka wai i ka lâ.

The water dries up in the sun.

Joy withers in the presence of wrath.


# 2136

Mânâ kah kua welawela.

Mânâ where the back feels the heat (of the sun).

Refers to Mânâ, Kaua`i.


# 2164

Mo`a nopu ka lâ i ke kula o Ho`olehua.

The sun scorches the plain of Ho`olehua.

Refers to Ho`olehua, Moloka`i.


# 2298

Nau na ku`i o ka niho o ka lâ.

The teeth of the sun gnash.

Said of a very warm day in which the heat is almost unbearable.



Ne`e papa ka helu a ka lâ i Punahoa.

The sun continued to scorch at Punahoa.

The fight didn't end quickly.


# 2387

`Oi ka niho o ka lâ i Kûmanomano.

Sharp are the teeth of the sun at Kûmanomano.

A very hot place is Kûmanomano. A play on manomano (much).


# 2388

`Oi kau ka lâ, e hana i ola honua.

While the sun yet shines do all you can.

While there is earthly life (ola honua), do all you can.


# 2417

O ka lâ ko luna, o ka pâhoehoe ko lalo.

The sun above, the smooth lava below.

Said of a journey in which the traveler suffers from the heat of the sun above and the reflected heat from the lava bed below.


# 2653

Pili pono ka lâ i Kamananui.

The sun is very close to Kamananui.

A play on Ka-mana-nui (The-great-power). When the person in power becomes angry, everyone around him feels
uncomfortable, as in the scorching, blistering sun.


# 2654

Pili pono ka lâ i Papa`ena`ena.

The sun concentrates its heat at Papa`ena`ena.

Said of the heat of temper. A play on `ena`ena (red-hot).


# 2855

Ua wela ka lâ, ke `oni nei
kukuna o ka hâ`uke`uke.

The sun is too warm, for the spikes of
the hâ`uke`uke are moving.

Anger is growing, and those near the angry one are moving out of the way. The hâ`uke`uke is a sea urchin.


# 2870

Ulu o ka lâ.

Growth of the sun.

Said of the light of sunrise just as the sun's rim
touches the horizon.


# 2890

Uwê o Kânepûniu i ka wela a ka lâ.

Kânepûniu complains of the heat of the sun.

Said when someone complains of the heat. From the chant by Hi`iaka, who saw Kânepûniu (Kâne-of-the-coconut), a supernatural tree at Wai`anae, O`ahu, on a very warm day.


 Pronunciation Guide

`Ôlelo No`eau: Ka Mahina / The Moon

# 1471

Kamali`i `ike `ole i ka helu pô:
Muku nei, Muku ka malama;
Hilo nei, kau ka Hoaka.

Children who do not know the moon phases:
Muku is here, Muku the moon;
Hilo comes next, then Hoaka.

The first part of a child's chant for learning the names of the moon phases. Also said of one who does not know the answer to a question or is ignorant. He is compared to
a small child who has not learned the moon phases.


# 1612

Kau ka mahina.

The moon is shining.

A remark made in fun when a bald head is seen.


# 2431

O ka `Ole ia, mai `Okekukâhi a `Olekupau.

It is the `Ole nights from `Okekukâhi to `Olekupau.

No. Absolutely not. A play on `ole (nothing). `Olekukâhi, `Olekulua, `Olekukolu, and `Olekupau are moon
phases in the lunar month.


# 2527

O `Olepau ka mahina;
o palaweka ka mahina;
o hina wale ka mahina;
o hâhâ pô`ele ka mahina.

`Olepau is the moon phase;
hazy is the light of the moon;
quickly goes the light of the moon;
quickly goes the light of the moon;
one gropes in the dark.

Said of one who is vague or hazy in explaining his thoughts, or of one whose knowledge is vague.


# 2595

Pali ke kua, mahina ke alo.

Back (as straight) as a cliff,
face as bright as the moon.

Said of a good-looking person.



Pronunciation Guide

`Ôlelo No`eau:

Nâ Hôkû / The Stars

# 1145

Hului kôkô a Makali`i a kau i luna.

The carrying net of Makali`i takes all and
suspends them on high.

Said of a stingy person. Makali`i was a supernatural chief of ancient times who gathered all the food plants in a net and hung them in the sky among the stars of the Pleiades.
The result was famine.


# 2513

O na hôkû no na kiu o ka lani.

The stars are the spies of heaven.

The stars look down on everyone and everything.


# 2514

O na hôkû o ka lani ka i `ike ia Pae. Aia a loa`a ka pûnana o ke ke kôlea,
loa`a `oia ia `oe.

Only the stars of heaven know where Pae is. Pae was a priest in the reign of `Umi. He was so lucky in fishing that the chief desired his bones for fishhooks after his death.

When Pae died, his sons hid his bones so well that none of the chiefs and priests could find them. The sons would say, "When you find the nest of the plover, then will you find him." But `Umi enlisted the help of a noted priest of Kaua`i, who saw the ghost of Pae drinking from a spring in Waimanu Valley. Thus were the bones of Pae found and made into fishhooks for the chief. The sons of Pae were reminded that the chief was using their father's bones for hooks by his constant cry, "O Pae, hold fast to our fish!"

# 2515

O na hôkû o ka lani, o Pa`aiea ko lalo.

The stars are above, Pa`aiea below.

Refers to Kamehameha's great fishpond, Pa`aiea, in Kona, Hawai`i. Its great size led to this saying -- the small islets that dotted its interior were compared to the stars that dot the sky. The pond was destroyed during a volcanic eruption.

 Pronunciation Guide



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