How to Say Happy New Year in Hawaiian Language: Hau’oli Makahiki Hou

by | Dec 16, 2023

As the New Year approaches, you might find yourself longing to share festive greetings in Hawaii’s beautiful native tongue. The Hawaiian language holds a captivating charm that is woven into every word and phrase.

This blog post will guide you through the joyous expression “Hau’oli Makahiki Hou,” ensuring you can spread holiday cheer with confidence. Keep reading for a cultural journey into the heart of Hawaii’s New Year celebrations!

How to Say Happy New Year in Hawaiian

To say Happy New Year in Hawaiian, you would say “Hau’oli Makahiki Hou.” The pronunciation of this phrase is “how-oh-lee mah-kah-hee-key ho.”

The meaning of “Hau’oli Makahiki Hou” goes beyond just the literal translation and holds significance in the context of Hawaiian culture and traditions.

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How to Pronounce Hau’oli Makahiki Hou (Happy New Year in Hawaiian)

Saying Happy New Year in Hawaiian might seem hard at first. But with a little practice, you’ll sound like a local! The right way to say “Hau’oli Makahiki Hou” is breaking it down into parts.

You start with “how-oh-lee” for Hau’oli, then add “mah-kah-hee-kee” for Makahiki, and finish with a simple “ho” for Hou.

Try saying it out loud a few times. Listen to the sounds flow together as you speak. Feel your mouth make the shapes of the words. It’s not just about getting it right; it’s also fun! This phrase shares good wishes for the new year and connects you to ancient Hawaiian traditions.

Keep practicing and soon you can share holiday cheer in Hawaii’s beautiful language!

Meaning of “Hau’oli Makahiki Hou”

The words “Hau’oli Makahiki Hou” bring joy and cheer as Hawaiians welcome the new year. Hau’oli in English translates to happy or cheerful, making celebrations bright.

Makahiki is a term for year, tied to a time of peace and rest in ancient Hawaiian culture.

It marked when people enjoyed the fruits of their harvest, took part in feasts and games, and gave thanks through religious ceremonies. Adding hou, meaning new, completes the phrase with wishes for a fresh start.

So if you’re basking under the Hawaiian sun or just love the island spirit anywhere you are, saying “Hau’oli Makahiki Hou” shares happiness for the coming year with those around you.

Understanding the Hawaiian Language

how to say happy new year in hawaiian - celebrate new year in hawaii on a beach

The Hawaiian language is rich with history and culture. It was once the main way people in Hawaii spoke to each other. Today, more folks want to learn it to keep the culture strong.

Many words you hear in Hawaii are full of meaning and tell stories about the land and its people.

For example, “aloha” means both hello and goodbye, but also love and care. Even the word we use for Happy New Year has deep roots in Hawaii’s past. Long ago, Makahiki was a special time that lasted four months!

During this period, Hawaiians took a break from war and work to enjoy games, rest, and give thanks for their blessings.

It was like hitting pause on normal life to celebrate peace and plenty.

Celebrating New Year in Hawaiian Culture

In Hawaiian culture, the New Year, or Makahiki, was a significant and joyous time. It marked the period between the harvest and new planting seasons when people celebrated abundance from their agricultural activities.

The Makahiki season ran from October to February and was characterized by peace, feasting, religious ceremonies, and relaxation. This time allowed the Native Hawaiians to revel in the fruits of their labor while also engaging in communal festivities and spiritual reflections.

During this peaceful period, conflicts were forbidden. People participated in sports competitions such as spear throwing, boxing, and wrestling along with laughter-filled games like ‘moa pahe’e’ (sliding stone disks).

The arrival of Captain James Cook further influenced New Year celebrations by introducing Western customs that blended with Hawaiian traditions.

With vibrant cultural practices and joyful gatherings filled with dance, music, food offerings at heiau (temples), hula performances telling stories of old Hawaii through chants—Makahiki became an integral part of Hawaiian heritage.


In Hawaiian, to wish someone a Happy New Year, you’d say “Hau’oli Makahiki Hou.” “Hau’oli” means happy or joyful. “Makahiki” refers to the year, and “Hou” means new. The phrase represents good wishes for happiness in the coming new year.

So next time you meet someone from Hawaii for the first time in the new year, impress them with a warm “Hau’oli Makahiki Hou!”.


1. What does “Hau’oli Makahiki Hou” mean?

“Hau’oli Makahiki Hou” means “Happy New Year” in Hawaiian language.

2. Can you tell me about the time of Makahiki?

Celebrated in Hawaii for centuries, Makahiki was a peaceful time, with harvest celebrations, religious events, and rest.

3. How is the New Year celebrated in Hawaii?

In Hawaii, people celebrate by enjoying music, special food, and saying “Hau’oli Makahiki Hou.”

4. Is there more to know about how Hawaiians view the season?

Yes! Hawaiians see this season as a special transitional time between harvesting crops and starting anew.

5. Should I try to say other phrases in Hawaiian too?

Sure! Saying well-known greetings like “Mele Kalikimaka” for Christmas can be fun; just check how they are used properly.

Bryan Murphy

Bryan Murphy

Bryan Murphy, owner of Hawaii’s Best Travel, is a certified Hawaii destination expert from the Hawaii Visitors Bureau. He actively participates in the Hawaii Visitors and Convention Bureau as a member and has a strong educational background focused on local culture and sustainability. As the host of “Hawaii’s Best Travel,” a top-30 US travel podcast, Bryan combines his years of experience with valuable insights. He connects with a broad online community, reaching nearly half a million people, and offers a richer, more responsible way to experience Hawaii.