King Kamehameha Day

On December 27, 1871, the Hawaiian Gazette published the following item:

BY AUTHORITY:  King Kamehameha V, on December 22, 1871, at Iolani Palace, Honolulu, proclaims Kamehameha Day, to be held in honor of his grandfather and predecessor, Kamehameha I, founder of the Hawaiian Kingdom.

The first observation of King Kamehameha Day was held on June 11, 1872. According to Kamehameha Schools/Bishop Estate’s recount of the history, “Early celebrations of Kamehameha Day featured carnivals, fairs, and lots of racing – foot races, horse races and even velocipede races.” Over the years, the events became more elaborate.

These days, those of us familiar with the tradition think of the lei draping of the King Kamehameha Statue and the parade with the pa’u riders. The King Kamehameha Hula Competition attracts hula halau (groups/schools) from all over the world.

The 2021 King Kamehameha Festival has been canceled, but we look forward to the event in 2021. To keep up with the news of the Festival and to read further about the history, visit the King Kamehameha Festival website by clicking HERE

Visit the King Kamehameha Hula Competition’s Facebook Page by clicking HERE.

King Kamehameha Statue, Hawaii State Archives. Year not speicifed.
King Kamehameha Day Celebration, year not specified.. Hawaii State Archives.
Joe Medeiros standing vigil at the King Kamahameha Statue, waiting for his King to come to life and step down from the pedestal. Hawaii State Archives. Year not specified.
King Kamehameha Day Parade on Bishop Street heading toward Honolulu Harbor.. The procession of what looks like a Hawaiian Civic Club is passing the Alexander Young Hotel. Hawaii State Archives. There was no information as to what year this photo was taken or who the people were in the procession.