Legend has it that Hina, the mother of the demi-god Maui, made kapa cloth from the bark of local trees. But when she dyed the cloth in the morning the kapa would still be damp in the evening. “The sun moves too quickly across the sky,” she cried.
In those days, from their Big Island home near Rainbow Falls not far from modern day Hilo, it was clear that the sun rested at night in the crater of Mount Haleakala for part of the year. So, upon hearing his mother’s lament, Maui took his canoe and traveled across the water and, while the sun was resting, climbed the 10,000 foot mountain and looked down on the sleeping sun.
As the sun stretched to begin its day, Maui lassoed it with a rope of twisted coconut fiber and held on tight. Maui demanded the sun move more slowly so his mother could dry her kapa cloth. Bargaining with Maui, the sun promised to slow its journey for half the year and move at its accustomed pace the other half.
Maui released the sun and returned to tell his mother the good news. Delighted, she made a new cape for her son and, thanks to the sun’s slower pace, it dried that very afternoon. Ever since, the warm days of Hawaiian summers have lingered several hours longer than the days we call winter in colder climates.
Thank you Maui!