There were four months devoted to the observances of the Makahiki, during which time the ordinary religious ceremonies were omitted, the only ones that were observed being those connected with the Makahiki festival. The keepers of the idols, however, kept up their prayers and ceremonies throughout the year. The Makahiki is a form of the “first fruits” festivals common to many cultures. It is similar in timing and purpose to Thanksgiving, Oktoberfest and other harvest celebrations – it celebrated Lono, god of plenty.
Per the Bishop Museum Planetarium, December 1, 2016, marks Makahiki (start of the Hawaiian year) – Pleiades rises at sunset (November 17;) the new moon that follows this sunset rising of the Pleiade (November 29) and the first visible crescent moon that follows this new moon. In 2016, this slender crescent should be visible in the west at dusk on December 1, thus marking the start of the Makahiki season and of the Hawaiian year.