ʻŌlelo Hawaiʻi / Hawaiian Language

Hawaiian Word of the Day for Feb. 12: Pōpeku

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Today is the Super Bowl, with the Kansas City Chiefs battling the Philadelphia Eagles at State Farm Stadium in Glendale, Ariz. Kickoff is at 1:30 p.m. HST.

So for Feb. 12, our Hawaiian Word of the Day is pōpeku, which means football, the sport. Kinipōpō peku means football, the ball.

Some pōpeku terms to know:

  • kūlele: offense
  • kūpale: defense
  • kīoli: pass
  • kūlaʻi: tackle
  • ʻaihue: turnover
  • ʻaiholo: touchdown
  • ʻaipeku: field goal
Tua Tagovailoa, was born on Oʻahu, and now plays ʻailihikūlele for the Miami Dolphins. Photo Courtesy NFL.com

The current biggest Hawaiian star ʻailihikūlele (quarterback) in the NFL is Tua Tagovailoa, who plays for the Miami Dolphins. He was born in Ewa Beach on Oʻahu.


But while Tagovailoa and his team are watching this year’s Super Bowl like the rest of us, a big fan of Hawai’i and Hawaiian shirts will be coaching the Chiefs.

Kansas City Chiefs coach Andy Reid is a huge fan of the palaka aloha, which was also the case when he coached the Philaelphia Eagles. Photo Courtesy: NFL.com

As many people know, Andy Reid is a fan of the palaka aloha (Aloha Shirt) and has been for more than two decades.

Chiefs wearing aloha shirts in honor of coach Andy Reid to 2020 Super Bowl in Miami. Photos Courtesy: NFL.com

In 2020, some of his players surprised him by wearing Chiefs-themed florals to travel to the Super Bowl at Hard Rock Stadium in Miami Gardens. It proved to be good luck, with the Chiefs beating the San Francisco 49ers 31-20.

Kansas City Chiefs-themed palaka aloha.

Go online and there are plenty of Kansas City Chiefs-themed palaka aloha to choose from. One sales pitch: Say “Aloha” to your must-have fan fashion style. With this Kansas City Chiefs Hawaiian Button-Up Shirt, you’ll be the freshest fan at any tailgate, pig roast, family reunion, or office holiday party.

Here’s another sales pitch: Nothing says “I love Kansas City” like a classic Hawaiian Chiefs shirt. Andy Reids’ favorite shirt style can now be yours as well! You can make this iconic garment a staple of your Chief’s football gear by adding this sweet baby to your collection. 

A Kansas City Chiefs-themed plumeria fabric hair pick.

There is even a Kansas City themed plumeria fabric hair pick, and lucky you, they are in stock on Etsy.


But don’t fret Eagles fans, before he was the Chiefs head coach, Andy Reid led Philadelphia from 1999 to 2012, where he also was noted for wearing palaka aloha.

And even more exciting, there are also plenty of Philadelphia Eagles-themed palaka aloha to purchase online. They are much more menacing than the Chiefs versions. Sorry, no Philadelphia Eagles-themed plumeria fabric hair picks appear to be available.

Philadelphia Eagles-themed palaka aloha.

And of course most people tune into the Super Bowl not for the pōpeku but for the hoʻomaha hapalua: halftime. This year’s show is headlined by Rhianna, whose 17-year career includes 14 No. 1 songs and 32 top 10 songs on the Billboard Hot 100.

Rhianna will be headlining the Super Bowl hoʻomaha hapalua show. Screen shot

Editor’s Note: Each day in February, we have a new “Hawaiian Word of the Day” during Mahina ʻŌlelo Hawaiʻi, Hawaiian Language Month. Check out the other words of the day on the Big Island website by clicking here.


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