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How to Celebrate King Kamehameha Day: 2024

Every year on June 11, Hawaii celebrates King Kamehameha I with vibrant celebrations, parades and cultural events. This day, known as King Kamehameha Day, or simply Kamehameha Day, honors the legendary ruler who united the Hawaiian Islands. This year, the holiday falls on Tuesday, June 11, 2024.

Kamehameha Day is more than just a state holiday in Hawaii; it's a celebration of the islands' rich history, cultural heritage and the visionary leadership of King Kamehameha I. Through joyful festivities, Native Hawaiians, local residents and visitors alike can pay homage to the great ruler who united the islands and set the stage for the diverse and welcoming paradise that Hawaii is today. As you celebrate Kamehameha Day, remember to embrace the spirit of unity, respect and appreciation for Hawaii's unique culture.

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History of Kamehameha Day

Kamehameha Day has its roots in ancient Hawaii, when the islands were divided into warring kingdoms. Born in 1758, Kamehameha I emerged as a charismatic and visionary leader, destined to unify the Hawaiian Islands. Through strategic alliances and skillful military campaigns, he succeeded in consolidating the islands and establishing a unified kingdom in 1810.

Following his death May 8, 1819, King Kamehameha I's legacy continued to resonate with the people of Hawaii. It was not until 1871, however, that Kamehameha Day was officially recognized as a public holiday. The decision was made by Hawaii's ruling monarch, King Kamehameha V, who wanted to honor his great-grandfather's achievements and the unification of the islands.

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Celebrations and Traditions

Kamehameha Day is celebrated across the Hawaiian Islands with floral parades, traditional music, hula performances and colorful costumes. Participants pay homage to King Kamehameha I by adorning themselves with lei, a symbol of love and respect in Hawaiian culture.

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Significance and Cultural Legacy

Kamehameha Day holds profound cultural significance for the people of Hawaii and serves as a reminder of the islands' unique heritage, the perseverance of its people and the spirit of unity. King Kamehameha I's reign symbolized a period of great transformation and laid the foundation for the cultural diversity and aloha spirit that define Hawaii today. It's also a time for local community and cultural organization to come together to ensure that the legacy of King Kamehameha I continues. 

Schedule of Kamehameha Day Celebrations

Each Hawaiian island hold its own unique celebrations to honor King Kamehameha. Below are a few ways to celebrate the holiday with your 'ohana (family) and friends on the Island of Oahu.

Annual Lei Draping of the King Kamehameha Statue

Friday, June 7, 2024 | 2:30 p.m. - 5 p.m.

Oahu's annual lei draping ceremony begins at 2:30 p.m., Friday, June 7, 2024, at Aliʻiōlani Hale, in Downtown Honolulu. Spectators can take in the draping of beautiful handmade lei over the outstretched arms of an 18-foot bronze statue of King Kamehameha statue fronting Aliʻiōlani Hale (home to the Hawaii State Supreme Court) and across from ʻIolani Palace. The Royal Hawaiian Band will perform at 2:30 p.m., and the formal Lei Draping Ceremony with Pule (prayer) and Oli (chant) will begin at 3 p.m.

If this will be your first visit, be sure to read the Lei Draping Protocol before you go. Note: Lei, hoʻokupu (traditional offering) or other items presented during the Lei Draping Ceremony will be removed between 6 a.m. – 10 a.m. on Monday, June 10, 2024, by the State of Hawaii Department of Accounting and General Services grounds crew. If you'd like to retrieve floral arrangements, containers or hoʻokupu that you contributed during the Lei Draping Ceremony, be sure to do so in advance of the planned removal.

107th Annual King Kamehameha Celebration Floral Parade

Saturday, June 8, 2024 | 9 a.m. - 1 p.m.

The annual King Kamehameha Celebration Floral Parade will start at 9 a.m., Saturday, June 8, 2024, at historic 'Iolani Palace in downtown Honolulu. Participants will then proceed to Punchbowl Street, before making a left on Ala Moana Boulevard and eventually Kalakaua Avenue. The parade ends at Monsarrat Avenue and Queen Kapiolani Park. Streets will begin to close in Downtown Honolulu at 7:30 a.m., with closures coinciding as the parade moves along the route, several blocks before its arrival at Kapiolani Park, at approximately 11 a.m.

King Kamehameha Celebration Hoʻolauleʻa

Saturday, June 8, 2024 | 11 a.m. - 5 p.m.

A King Kamehameha Celebration at Kapiolani Park will follow the floral parade, from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., with free admission, Hawaiian cultural activities, hula, live entertainment, Hawaii-made products, food booths and more. Ample parking is available, and support for the event is provided by Hawaii Tourism Authority through the Community Enrichment Program.

King Kamehameha I Tribute

Tuesday, June 11, 2024 | 9 a.m. - 9:30 a.m.

A tribute to King Kamehameha I, sponsored by the Daughters and Sons of the Hawaiian Warriors-Māmakakaua, will take place at the Statue of Kamehameha I at Aliʻiōlani Hale.

What's Open and Closed on Kamehameha Day?

Since King Kamehameha Day is a state holiday in Hawaii, many services, attractions and businesses will be unavailable or closed on Tuesday, June 11, 2024. Below, you'll find the availability of key services, so you can plan your holiday accordingly.

Available Services and Attractions:

  • Emergency ambulance, fire, lifeguard, medical examiner and police services 
  • TheBus will operate on a holiday schedule. 
  • Parks, municipal golf courses, botanical gardens and the Honolulu Zoo
  • Refuse, transfer stations, convenience centers, H-POWER and the Waimānalo Gulch Sanitary Landfill

Unavailable Services and Attractions:

  • Neal S. Blaisdell Center box office
  • People’s Open Markets
  • All satellite city halls and driver licensing centers 
  • Most branches of the Hawaii State Library

Locations' offices will also be closed for the holiday.

However you choose to celebrate King Kamehameha Day, we wish you a day filled with joy, 'ohana, aloha and an appreciation of Hawaii's unique and beautiful culture!

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