Our Hawaiian word for today is lehulehu as in Lekiō o ko Hawaiʻilehulehu: Hawaiʻi Public Radio. Lehulehu means “multitude, crowd, great number, population, the public.” It can also mean “numerous, very many, innumerable.”
For many years one of the most important products of Hawaiʻi was the hala kahiki, or pineapple. Come to think of it, the fruit which was introduced to Hawaiʻi from a foreign place does resemble the fruit of the hala, or Pandanus tree.
Mua means “first,” and today is the first day of a new year. You might say it is the lā mua o kēia makahiki no. It may also mean “before, ahead, forward, in advance, future, front, former, foremost, primary,” and many other things.
Kula kamaliʻi is how we say pre-school in Hawaiian. Kula means “school,” and kamaliʻi means “children.” Although it literally means small child, kamaliʻi is a word used only in plural form. Remember, in Hawaiian the modifier follows the noun.
Often we hear Hawaiians speak of their ʻaumakua, their family or personal god – deified ancestors who might assume the shape of sharks, owls, hawks, mud hens, octopuses, eels, mice, rats, even clouds or plants.
Heluhelu means “to read.” Helu, by itself, is to count, but re-duplicating it gives us a new word: to read. All of us can heluhelu and we do it everyday reading books, newspapers, magazines, signs, and more.
Another popular place name that is often mispronounced is Maʻalaea, a bay, village, and small boat harbor on Maui. It is probably a contraction from maka ʻalaea which relates to the yellow, or red color of the Earth's beginning.
Wai means “water.” Wai is a very important thing to Hawaiians, and for that reason is included in many names – both place names, such as Waimānalo, Waikīkī, and Waiehu. And in many family and given names. Wai can be used for any type of liquid except sea water.
Our Hawaiian Word of the Day is the name of our state, Hawaiʻi. It is pronounced either as “Hawaiʻi” or “Havaiʻi.” Yes, either is okay. Language experts say you can pronounce it with a “w” or a “v” if that sound follows an “a.”
We often hear kakahiaka as part of aloha kakahiaka, a greeting early in the day. And most know it means morning. The popular greeting came in to use only after the arrival of the poʻe haole, as a translation for “good morning.”