Unique Holidays in Hawaii

Two Fridays in a row are holidays in Hawaii this year. Hawaii’s unique holiday observances may also affect visitors to the islands in several ways.

Good Friday is a state holiday in Hawaii. This year, it falls on April 2 just one week after Prince Jonah Kuhio Kalanianaole Day, which honors the Hawaii leader every March 26. The holidays are on successive Fridays this year making short work-weeks for many. Although visitors to the island may not be keeping track of work schedules, you should be aware that many offices are closed and busses run on a holiday schedule.

When I was making travel arrangements for my daughter’s wedding, I was also concerned about Hawaii’s “Furlough Fridays” – days the state has closed offices and schools as a result of the budget crunch. It affects wedding planning because the bride and groom need to both be present in a government office that is open to get a marriage license. We moved her arrival back to earlier in the week just in case offices are closed the Friday before her wedding.

Another way Hawaii’s holiday schedules affect visitors can’t be read off from a calendar. When Rick and I went on our first Hawaii vacation, we stayed primarily in Waikiki and didn’t notice much change from weekdays to weekends because most of the people on that beach were fellow tourists. However, the next trip we enjoyed beaches from Kailua to the North Shore. When driving about during the week, we found parking fairly easily and no long lines at eating places. However, we went out for one more trip before leaving and everything was PACKED! It took a minute to realize that it was Saturday and all the locals were also enjoying the waves.

Now we frequently walk along Ala Moana Beach Park, which serves as a sort of front lawn for many locals in Honolulu. On weekends, families gather with tents, grills and music to enjoy the day. Often there are the inflatable jumping things set up for kids. When we passed the area on our first trip, I thought there was a festival of some sort going on – later I realized it was just the weekend. While there are often official celebrations of some sort at Ala Moana or Magic Island, that’s not necessary to draw a crowd. All that is needed is a day off to get the party started!

Posted by: Bruce Fisher