In Hawaii, King Kamehameha Day is a state holiday that honors King Kamehameha I. King Kamehameha I united the Hawaiian islands into one kingdom in 1810. In doing so, he ended conflicts across the islands and became Hawaii’s first king.
King Kamehameha brought peace to the Hawaiian islands during his reign. In addition, he unified the legal system and used taxes to trade with other nations.
Hawaiian kahuna (priests) foretold that a unifier of the islands would be born under a comet. Fulfilling this legend, King Kamehameha I was born in 1758 – the year Halley’s Comet returned. Interestingly, this comet orbits the earth and can be seen only approximately every 75 years.
Today, he is known as Kamehameha the Great and is a revered monarch.
King Kamehameha Day
On June 11, 1872, King Kamehameha V created the holiday to honor his grandfather. And when Hawaii became a state in 1959, King Kamehameha Day was one of the first state holidays decided upon.
Although June 11 is the official date of King King Kamehameha Day, celebrations take place throughout the entire month of June. Across the Hawaiian islands, celebrations include lei drapings, parades, and ho‘olaule‘a (big parties or festivals). So, I rounded up some of the celebrations happening across the Hawaiian islands that you might want to participate in.
On Oahu, the celebrations begin with The King Kamehameha Statue Lei Draping Ceremony at Aliʻiolani Hale in Honolulu. This year’s Lei Draping Ceremony will take place on June 9.
Here, volunteers hand-sew each lei with plumeria flowers. They each reach over 30 feet long! According to Hawaiian protocol, they can only be placed over the King Kamehameha’s outstretched arm.
And, on June 10, Oahu will host its 101st Annual King Kamehameha Celebration Floral Parade. The parade will begin at Iolani Palace, the only royal palace in the United States. It will also feature floats, horse-riding units, and vehicles, all decorated with flowers. This year’s theme is “Ka Puni ʻAna o ka Haneli Makahiki” – Celebrating 101 Years!
In addition, parade grand marshals will represent the families that have kept this annual event alive throughout the years. It will finish at Queen Kapʻiolani Park in Waikiki. After the parade, a ho‘olaule‘a will take place at Queen Kapʻiolani Park in Waikiki. For more information, click here.
Hawai’i (The Big Island)
The Big Island’s 2017 King Kamehameha Day Celebration Parade will take place at 9 a.m. on Saturday, June 10. It will start near Royal Kona Resort at Walua Road and pass through the Historic Kailua Village to Kailua Pier, up Palani Road to Kuakini Highway.
Here, pa’u riders, Hawaiian women horseback riders who wear long, colorful Hawaiian print skirts and ride astride instead of sidesaddle, will participate in the parade, wearing Hawaiian lei and foliage. They will also showcase the flora and colors of the eight Hawaiian Islands.
The island units will be lead by the Pa‘u Queen and her equestrian unit. Parade participants will include at least 100 riders on horseback. In addition, there will be decorated floats, horse-drawn carriages, marching bands, equestrian units, hula halau (hula schools), and more.
After the parade, a ho‘olaule‘a will take place at Hulihe‘e Palace in Historic Kailua Village. The festival will feature food vendors, Hawaiian crafts, and a silent auction. Songbird Diana Aki will be performing live. There will also be hula performances and special guests. for more information, visit their website .
The 2017 Nā Kamehameha Commemorative Pa’u Parade and Ho‘olaule‘a in West Maui will take place from June 17-18, in West Maui. The event’s theme is “Hoʻoilina Pūlama Nā Mamo” – “Passing the Torch.”
On Saturday, June 17, the parade will begin at 9:45 a.m. on Kenui Street. The parade will go down Front Street to Shaw Street. In addition, there will be six parade commentary stations along the route (that include Longhi‘s, Kimo‘s, Cheeseburger in Paradise, Lahaina Pizza Co., The Wharf Cinema Center, and the Entertainment Stage at Kamehameha Iki Park).
The hoʻolauleʻa under the Lahaina Banyan Tree will include exhibits, art activities for keiki (children), a parade, food booths supporting community non-profits, Maui made crafts, music, and hula. The festivities will last until 5 p.m. and continue the next day, Sunday, June 18, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. For more information visit their Facebook page.
In Kauai, the King Kamehameha Day Celebration Parade will take place in on June 10, from 9:00 am – 2:00 pm.
The parade starts at Vidinha Stadium. It will finish at the Historic County Building on Rice Street. It will also include the Hawaiian tradition of pa’u riding in celebration of the paniolo (Hawaiian cowboy) traditions.
Finally, after the parade, the King Kamehameha Hoʻolauleʻa will take place on the lawn of the Historic County Building for hula. At the festival, there will be live Hawaiian entertainment and food booths. This event is also keiki-friendly and will also feature local products for sale, hula, live entertainment, and more. Click here for more information.
For more information about cultural happenings in Hawaii, keep up with our blog. Also, you can give us a call to find out which events you can take advantage of during your vacation in Hawaii.