Makana is a mountain located on northern shore of the island of Kauai, where it rises above Limahuli Valley. Makana is a Hawaiian language term meaning gift or reward. It is often used as a person's name or as part of a name. Limahuli Garden and Preserve preserves the valley below. It was featured in the 1958 film adaptation of the musical South Pacific as Bali Hai, a name that is still used to this day.
Makana Mountain is one of only two locations where the fire-throwing ceremony, ōahi, was performed in ancient Hawaiian times. The ōahi was a celebration of very special occasions such as the graduation of students from the hālau hula ( hula school) at Kēē or the visit of an alii (high chief). On the day of the ceremony, skilled firethrowers climbed the steep cliffs to the very top of Makana Mountain laden with light, dry logs of pāpala ( Charpentiera spp.) or hau ( Hibiscus tiliaceus). When night fell, they set the logs afire and hurled them out over the ocean. Ridge lifts created by trade winds hitting the sheer cliff of Makana kept the firebrands aloft, soaring as far as out to sea. The result was a night sky filled with sparks and fiery torches tracing long arcs of light. It is sometimes called "Fireworks Cliff".
People in canoes would crowd the ocean below Makana, trying to catch the firebrands. It was considered heroic to catch the flaming embers, and those who succeeded would often mark themselves with the fire in honor of the occasion. Couples who caught the firebrands would both mark themselves in the same way, as a sign of love and commitment.
The practice ended in the 19th century, with the last ceremony having been in honor of Queen Emma.
Makana, born Matthew Swalinkavich, is an award-winning slack-key guitar player, singer, and composer. Born and raised in Hawaii, his guitar playing has been featured on three Grammy-nominated albums, including the soundtrack of the Academy-Award winning film " The Descendants", starring George Clooney. In 2008, he was second runner up in Guitar Player Magazine's Guitar Superstar competition eliciting praise from judges Steve Vai, Joe Satriani, and Elliot Easton. In 2012, he was awarded one of Hawaii's top musical honors: a Na Hoku Ki Ho'alu (Slack Key) Legacy Award (Hawaii's “Grammy”) by the Hawaii Academy of Recording Arts.
On November 12, 2011, Makana, who had performed previously at the White House, turned a gig performing at an Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation dinner in Honolulu, attended by President Barack Obama and the leaders of 18 other nations, into a political protest by opening his suit jacket to reveal a T-shirt reading "Occupy With Aloha" and singing his song, "We Are the Many," for 45 minutes, in support of the Occupy movement. Rolling Stone Magazine went on to call "We Are the Many" the "anthem of the Occupy movement."
Makana is a mountain on the island of Kauaʻi.
Makana may also refer to:
- Makana (musician), an American slack-key guitar player and singer
- Makana (prophet) (died 1819), a Xhosa warrior and prophet
- Makana F.A., a sporting body formed by political prisoners on Robben Island, South Africa
- Makana Local Municipality, a local authority in the Eastern Cape province of South Africa