Ancient Polynesian Astronomy

Ancient Polynesians recognised the planets and the fixed stars. In Hawaii the eastern star was called manalo and the evening star was called na-holo-holo. Their calendar measured the movement of the stars across the sky with great accuracy. Like all ancient cultures the star group of Pleiades, “the seven sisters” had great significance. Its first appearance in the evening sky , which at present falls in November marked the beginning of the year and was highly celebrated. Some other Polynesian groups began their year when Pleiades made its appearance in the morning sky which fell around June.

The lunar month was observed and 29/30 days of the month were given different names for the nights of the Moon. The Hawaiians called this year beginning with Pleiades appearance in the sky Makahiki. It was divided into twelve lunar months, beginning with the new Moon. By allotting 29/30 days to each lunar month there was usually a left over portion of days at the end of the year, but it is unknown what significance was attached to it.. They would use a cycle of 19 years in which the 3rd, 5th, 8th, 11yh, 13th, 16th, 19th years were allowed to have an extra 13th lunar month. In the intervening years, the 12th month was given extra length to account for the extra days. The Greeks followed a similar system.

The names given by the Tahitian people to the nights of the Moon are

  1. (New Moon) – Tirio or Teriere
  2. HiroHiti
  3. Hoata
  4. Hami-ama-mua
  5. Hami-ama-roto
  6. Hami-ama-muri
  7. ‘Ore’ ore-mua
  8. ‘Ore’ ore-mui
  9. Tamatea
  10. Huna
  11. Rapu or Ari
  12. Maharu
  13. Hu-a
  14. Maitu
  15. Motu
  16. Mara’i
  17. Turu or Turutea
  18. Ra’au-mua
  19. Ra’au-muri
  20. ‘Ore’ ore-mua
  21. ‘Ore’ ore-roto
  22. ‘Ore’ ore-muri
  23. Ta’aroa-mua
  24. Ta’aroa -roto
  25. Ta’aroa-muri
  26. Tane
  27. Ro’o-nui
  28. Ro’o-mauri
  29. Mutu or Maurimate
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One Response to Ancient Polynesian Astronomy

  1. Ask Angels says:

    Hello, all is going fine here and ofcourse every one is sharing facts, that’s
    genuinely excellent, keep upp writing.

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