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Your Guide to Hawaiian Holidays

statue of kine kamehameha

Hawaii has an incredibly rich history and culture. Throughout the year we celebrate holidays that are unique to Hawaii – in fact, there are three state holidays that are unique to Hawaii as well as others that our brought here from other areas.

Prince Kuhio Day

Prince Jonah Kuhio Kalanianaole Day is honored all over Hawaii on March 26. Parades, canoe races & luaus commemorate this great prince who improved the lives of his Hawaiian people. Born in 1871, he was elected to the US Congress and gained reelection an astounding 10 times. He was very influential in helping pass the 1920 Hawaiian Homes Commission Act, which provides homesteads for Native Hawaiians.

King Kamehameha I Day

King Kamehameha Day was established on December 22,1871 by King Kamehameha V. The day honors his Great Grandfather, King Kamehameha I who united all the Hawaiian Islands in 1832. This day is celebrated by parades, festivals and hula dancing. On this day four statues of the King are draped in beautiful long flower leis. The statues are on the Big Island (this statue was lost at sea and subsequently recovered), Oahu, Washington DC and Hilo.

Admissions Day

Third Friday in August, Yearly On August 21, 1959 Hawaii was officially admitted as the 50th state of the union. After being turned down in 1919, 1935, 1947 and 1950 this became a day to celebrate. Also called Statehood Day, it is recognized as a state holiday on the third Friday of August.

Lei Day

Lei Day honors the month of Lei (May) as well as fragant flower leis that greet many visitors to our islands. Hawaiian schools and communities often elect a Lei Day Court and pageants for a Lei Day Queen are a held throughout the islands. Each Island has it’s own special flower of which leis are made and these are gifted at parades and other celebrations. Remember, all leis are not the same – the color of a lei and the way it is gifted has many meanings.

Girls Day

Girls Day  came to our islands from the Islands of Japan when many Japanese people came to live here. This day represents love, happiness, peace and beauty. Although seldom celebrated in Japan anymore, here in Hawaii girls may still receive gifts of dolls, cookies, diamond shaped cakes and even small trinkets. Parades are held to showcase beautiful kimonos and dolls that have been handed down for generations.

Boys Day

Boys is day celebrated in Hawaii and was also brought to Hawaii by the Japanese people. The symbol of Boys Day is the Koi Fish which represents strength and longevity. On Boys Day, it is customary for boys to make kites in the shape of Koi and fly them from their homes in heights that range from eldest to youngest. Boys also receive gifts of different mochi cakes and samurai dolls.

As a part of the United States Hawaii still celebrates other state and national Holidays, but our rich history and vibrant cultures infuse our calendar with additional holidays to celebrate the beauty of Hawaii and our people. If you are interested in taking part in a traditional Hawaiian Holiday, give us a call and we’ll be glad to guide you to a holiday you’ll only find in paradise.