One such holiday, celebrated annually on June 11th, honors the first monarch who established the Kingdom of Hawaii, Kamehameha the Great. The holiday is celebrated across the eight major Hawaiian islands of Hawaii: O’ahu, Maui, Ni’ihau, Kaua’i, Moloka’i, Lāna’i, Kaho’olawe, and Hawai’i Island.
What is King Kamehameha Day?
After uniting the islands, Kamehameha the Great became the first King of Hawaii and this day is a celebration and memorial of him. King Kamehameha Day is a beautiful celebration of not only Kamehameha the Great but also, the protection and preservation of the Hawaiian culture. Celebrated in a festival style, King Kamehameha Day is enjoyed by thousands of Hawaiian locals and tourists on June 11th every year. The festival celebration features traditional Hawaiian song, dance, and chats along with delicious food, arts, and crafts.
The History of King Kamehameha Day
After years of strife and conflict across what is now known as the Hawaiian islands, Kamehameha the Great united the islands into one kingdom in 1810. He became the first King of Hawaii and was known as a wise diplomat, fierce warrior, and was highly respected as a leader. Sixty-one years later, King Kamehameha V, his great-grandson, declared by royal decree that June 11th would be King Kamehameha Day in honor of his memory.
The day was also implemented as a replacement for Hawaiian Sovereignty Restoration Day that took place on July 31st, a holiday King Kamehameha V disapproved of due to association with the Paulet affair. The first celebration took place on June 11th, 1872 and the early festivities were celebrated through grand carnivals.
During the years of 1893 and 1898, celebrations fell to the wayside after the overthrow of Hawaii but the day continued to be recognized and was re-established when Hawaii became a United States territory in 1898. The celebration has been an annual event ever since and was one of the first public holidays proclaimed on Hawaii State Legislature when the islands entered statehood in 1959.
How to Celebrate King Kamehameha Day
Each Hawaiian island has different traditions to celebrate King Kamehameha Day, however, they are celebrated with festivals and parades across all islands. Five King Kamehameha statues currently exist across the Hawaiian islands that play an important role in festivities on King Kamehameha Day. The largest celebration takes place on O’ahu with the largest number of attendees across the islands and O’ahu is also home to the original 15-foot statue of King Kamehameha.
The celebration begins with a symbolic lei draping ceremony in Downtown Honolulu and every year, dozens of volunteers sew flowers to create a fresh lei that is then lifted by crane at the event to be draped over the outstretched arm of Honolulu’s King Kamehameha statue. As part of the daylong event, Honolulu also celebrates with the Annual King Kamehameha Celebration Floral Parade, a stunning parade that honors old Hawaiian pageantry through magnificent colors, flowers, and people.
Meanwhile, The Big Island celebrates with its own lei draping ceremony in Hilo as well as hosting the Kamehameha Festival on Mokuola. The festival features traditional Hawaiian song, dance, and chats complemented by incredible food as well as arts and crafts. The other islands also hold their own festivities including lei draping ceremonies, floral parades, song, and dance.
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Hawaii's Best 0:15
Welcome to Hawaii's Best podcast where we help you prepare for your next trip to Hawaii. Discover the experiences, businesses and stories that make Hawaii the Aloha state. And now your host Brian Murphy.
Bryan Murphy 0:31
Welcome to a special aloha Friday episode. I'm your host Brian Murphy, the owner of Hawaii's Best and today is a special day today is King Kamehameha day and I thought it'd be fitting to do a quick aloha Friday episode. I'm gonna sneak these in every once in a while maybe they'll become a thing but this will be a quicker than normal episode. So as you know, Hawaii is one of the most incredible places, cultures its rich in history. The history and culture of these Polynesian islands are often highlighted through public holidays that celebrate the phenomenal traditions of Hawaii and one of those holidays is celebrated annually on June 11, which honors the first monarch who established the kingdom of Hawaii, Kamehameha the great. And this holiday it's celebrated across all the islands. With the main celebrations happening on the island of Oahu. One of the first questions you may be asking yourself is what is king command may a day and after uniting the islands, Kamehameha the great became the first king of Hawaii and this day is a celebration in memorial of King Kamehameha King Kamehameha day as a beautiful celebration of not only Kamehameha the grave but also the protection and preservation of the Hawaiian culture. celebrated in a festival style King Kamehameha day is enjoyed by 1000s of Hawaiian locals and tourists on June 11. Every year the celebration features traditional Hawaiian song dance, along with delicious food of course arts and crafts. So the history of King Mamet day is that after years of strife and conflict across what is now known as the Hawaiian Islands, Kamehameha united the islands into one Kingdom in 1810. He became the first king of Hawaii, and was also known as a wise diplomat fierce warrior and was highly respected as a leader. 61 years later, King Kamehameha the fifth his great grandson declared by royal decree that June 11 Would Be King Kamehameha day in honor of his memory. The day was also implemented as a replacement for Hawaiian sovereignty restoration day that took place on July 31. a holiday which King command May the fifth disapproved of due to the association with the pilot affair and if you want to read more up on that, I would just encourage you to search pilot a fairing you can get what that is maybe we'll cover it on a future episode but right digress okay. The first celebration took place on June 11 1872. An early festivities were celebrated through grand Carnival that I can just imagine what those first few celebrations must have been like. However, during the years of 1893 and 1898 celebrations fell to the wayside after the overthrow of Hawaii. But the day continued to be recognized and was reestablished when Hawaii became a United States territory in 1898. The celebration has been an annual event ever since and was one of the first public holidays proclaimed on Hawaii State Legislature when the islands entered statehood in 1959. And that's a whole complicated other topic. But going back to King command a day, how it celebrated across the islands that I've kind of already mentioned it but each Hawaiian island has different traditions to celebrate King Kamehameha day However, they are celebrated. With festivals and parades across all the islands. There are five King Kamehameha statues that currently exist across the Hawaiian Islands that play an important role in festivities. On King Kamehameha day. The largest celebration like I mentioned, however, takes place on Oahu and the largest number of attendees across the islands and Oahu is also home to the original 15 foot statue of King Kamehameha and Honolulu is one of those most iconic images that you've probably You're saying we'll be sure we're going to put a picture of the statue on our Instagram account, you can find us on Instagram at Hawaii's Best. The celebration begins with a symbolic les draping ceremony in downtown Honolulu and every year dozens of volunteers so flowers to create a fresh lay that is then lifted by crane at the event to be dropped over the outstretched arm of the Honolulu King Kamehameha statue. As part of the day long event Honolulu also celebrates with the annual King Kamehameha celebration floral parade, a stunning parade that honors old Hawaiian pageantry through magnificent colors, flowers and people. So I hope that gives you an idea of a brief overview of what King Kamehameha day is all about. And be sure to follow along today and maybe do some of your own research. A little bit more in depth about King Kamehameha. So I hope you enjoyed this brief aloha Friday episode. If you did, I would love to hear about it. You can let me know if you're listening on Apple podcast, leave a rating and review below. And if you prefer our normal format of a longer podcast with the guest and a little bit more in depth, you can be sure to catch us next week when we bring a brand new full length episode to you and until then, have an amazing aloha Friday and an awesome weekend. And until next time, be well. Aloha.
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