Celebrating King Kamehameha the Great

Each year on the 11th of June we honor Kamehameha the Great, the first monarch to establish the unified Kingdom of Hawaii (which includes Hawai’i, Niihau, O’ahu, Kaua’i, Niihau, Moloka’i, Lana’i and Kahoolawe), making him Hawai’i’s first King.

The kids and I, when at home in Honolulu make our way to the King Kamehameha statue, located on South King street to watch this beautiful event take place.

A Recognized Holiday

Established on December 22, 1871, June 11th, was selected as the holiday by Kamehameha V to honor his grandfather, Kamehameha I. The first celebration occurred on June 11, 1872, during this early period celebrations occurred on each island and were grand and festive consisting of carnivals, fairs, and foot, horse, velocipede (bike), and canoe races. However, following the overthrow of Queen Lili‘uokalani and the Kingdom of Hawai‘i in 1893, Kamehameha Day continued to be recognized as a holiday, but the celebratory aspect (understandably) fell by the wayside.

After Hawai‘i became a territory of the United States in 1898, Prince Jonah Kūhiō Kalaniana‘ole restored the Royal Order of Kamehameha I (Royal Order) in 1903. The Royal Order subsequently reestablished the celebration of Kamehameha Day on June 11, 1904. The Kamehameha Day celebrations in Hawai‘i were conducted exclusively by the Royal Order from 1904 until 1912. In 1912 respective chapters of the Royal Order began to collaborate with island communities and local governments to present Kamehameha Day celebrations.

Parade, Live Entertainment and a Hula Competition

Though King Kamehameha Day is observed throughout the islands, on Oahu it is known for its parade. The longest parade, known as the King Kamehameha Floral Parade begin on June 9th at 9am at Iolani Palace in Downtown Honolulu. Floats, horse-riding units and vehicles all decorated with flowers will begin their procession to Queen Kapiolani Park at the base of Diamond Head, at the end of Kalakaua Avenue in Waikiki. Thereafter the annual Ho’olaulea will begin at 11am at the park with live entertainment lasting until 4pm.

The 44th Annual King Kamehameha Hula competition is also held at the Blaisdell Arena on June 9th, at 1pm. All styles of hula will be performed; from khaki to contemporary ‘asana and oli (chant) styles. You can reserve tickets through their box office online or in person. The competition attracts hula halaus from all over the world including; Canada, Japan, Mexico, California, Nevada and Texas.

If you’re visiting Oahu and/or merely looking for something to do this weekend, don’t miss the numerous Kamehameha Day celebrations taking place in Honolulu.

Then relax and observe the state holiday on Monday, June 11, 2018.

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