It’s Aloha Friday…

Aloha Friday
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“ …No work ’til Monday. Doo be doo, doo doo be, doo be doo be doo!”

There’s no denying this song has a nice ring to it. Made popular by Hawaii singer Kimo Kahoano in the early ‘80s, “Aloha Friday” is cheery and upbeat, and for good reason – it celebrates the end of a long work week! Whether we hear it on the morning drive or hum it over that routine cup of coffee, the song has become the state’s unofficial anthem each Friday.

Let’s talk all about Aloha Friday, but first, let’s set the mood. Here’s a link so you can listen to the catchy song before you learn all about Hawaii’s weekly “holiday.”

What Is Aloha Friday?

Aloha Friday is a day of the week, a state of mind, and a celebration. It’s also a greeting – locals often say “Happy Aloha Friday” to each other as they look forward to the weekend. 

The day is often signified by wearing short-sleeve aloha shirts (called “Hawaiian shirts” on the mainland) to work. It’s typically a way to dress casually (and comfortably) at the end of the week, but you’ll also see some people “dressing up” in aloha shirts. Locals who don’t typically need to wear button-up shirts will don one in celebration of the week’s end. 

Aloha Friday is a sigh of relief for workers. The week’s weight is lifted from their shoulders, adding a noticeable hop in each step closer to the usually dreaded 9-to-5. The office is a little more chipper; the boss is laid-back (sometimes), and eight hours later, you’re having pau hana (after-work) drinks ‘till the wee hours of the weekend.

The History of Aloha Friday

Which came first, the song “Aloha Friday” or the day of the week? 

Aloha Friday’s origins in Hawaii date back to the 40s, when Honolulu city workers were allowed to dress in short-sleeve button-up shirts in the hottest weeks of the year. Before that, it was all suits and ties for Honolulu’s employees. 

Then, in the 1960s, the state’s Fashion Guild encouraged more employers to adopt a cooler, more casual dress code.

Aloha friday shirts

Most people mark the beginning of Aloha Friday as we know it as beginning in 1966, when Wilson Cannon, the President of the Bank of Hawaii, began wearing an aloha shirt to work every Friday. The practice caught on, and soon, Aloha Friday became a dress code and a treasured part of modern Hawaiian culture. 

Kimo Kahoano released his song in 1982, creating an anthem for Aloha Friday. Today, you can tune into a local radio station on Fridays to hear the song, or if you listen closely, you might hear locals humming it at the grocery store or office areas at the end of the week. 

Influencing Casual Friday

Mainlanders also reap the benefits of Hawaii’s Aloha Fridays. It didn’t take long before the practice of dressing down on Fridays spread to the continental U.S. Offices began adopting the practice as early as the 50s and 60s, and it gained popularity in the 1980s. 

Still, the practice is relatively new. Its widespread popularity began in the 90s and continues today. 

Most people may not know it, but when they enjoy a “casual Friday,” they are enjoying a bit of Hawaii culture. 

So next time you’re feeling good on a Friday, why not try wishing your coworkers a happy “Aloha Friday.” Who knows, you may soon be taking on even more traditions born out of Hawaii’s warm and relaxed spirit. 

Learn more about the meaning of aloha here.