February is Mahina ʻŌlelo Hawaiʻi, Hawaiian Language Month
In celebration of Mahina ‘Ōlelo Hawai‘i, Hawaiian Language Month, the Council for Native Hawaiian Advancement, together with Native Hawaiian organizations, will host Ola Ka ʻĪ events, Hawaiian language fairs, on O‘ahu and Maui.
Hawaiian language speakers and learners of all ages and community members are encouraged to attend the free events for a day of student performances, storytelling, “make and take” stations, games, informational booths and a Hawaiian language speech competition for students grades K-12.
“Mahina ‘Ōlelo Hawai‘i is an important opportunity to spotlight ‘ōlelo Hawai‘i and encourage more people to speak Hawaiian and have spaces and occasions to celebrate and use it,” said Kūhiō Lewis, CEO of CNHA. “Forty years ago, there were less than 50 ʻōpio fluent in ‘ōlelo Hawai‘i, where our language was nearly extinct. Today more than 3,000 students are enrolled in 28 Kula Kaiapuni, more than 8,000 study Hawaiian at the university level and more than 26,000 individuals identify as Hawaiian language speakers.”
In 2013 the month of February was recognized as Mahina ‘Ōlelo Hawai‘i, Hawaiian language month, to celebrate and encourage the use of the Hawaiian Language. Like most indigenous languages throughout the world, the Hawaiian language faced a significant decline due to colonization.
Over the past 40 years Hawaiian language immersion schools, most notably ʻAha Pūnana Leo, have revitalized the language, growing a new generation of mānaleo, native speakers with Hawaiian as their first language. The resurgence of Hawaiian language and culture are due in large part to the Hawaiian Renaissance.
Ola Ka ʻĪ events hosted by Kūlaniākea, Ke Kula ʻo Kamakau, Ke Kula Kaiapuni ʻo Pūʻōhala,ʻAhahui ʻŌlelo Hawaiʻi, Kanaeokana, and CNHA will take place in celebration of Mahina ‘Ōlelo Hawai‘i.
The Koʻolau Oʻahu event was held on Jan. 28 at the Windward Maui.
Upcoming events include:
Ola Ka ʻĪ Maui Nui
Saturday, Feb. 18 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Queen Ka‘ahumanu Shopping Center (Maui)
Ola Ka ʻĪ ʻEwa
Saturday, Feb. 25 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Ka Makana Ali‘I (O‘ahu)
Ola Ka ʻĪ first took place in February 2020 at Windward Mall. Ola Ka ʻĪ which translates to “language thrives” brings together our community to revitalize and normalize the use of ‘ōlelo Hawai‘i.
The Hawaiian language immersive format is a signature component of Ola Ka ʻĪ, designed to engage the growing number of school-aged children and families attending Hawaiian language schools in Hawai‘i. The event features student performances, storytelling, “make and take” stations, games, and informational booths.
This year a new hoʻokūkū ʻōlelo Hawaiʻi or Hawaiian language speech competition for students grades K-12 will take place. To enter the competition at any of the Ola Ka ʻĪ events, please email [email protected] for a link to register.
For more information about Mahina ‘Ōlelo Hawai‘I and upcoming events visit mahinaolelohawaii.org.