HONOLULU (KHON2) — Sunday marked much more than just the end of the month. July 31 in Hawaii has been named by the state as a special day of observance of La Hoihoi Ea, which signifies the restoration of Hawaiian sovereignty.

Thomas Square in Honolulu provided a beautiful backdrop to the celebration, including halau hula and lei offerings.

Download the free KHON2 app for iOS or Android to stay informed on the latest news

“We’re extremely happy we’re extremely excited to be celebrating not just here but Waianae, Waimanalo, Paauilo all throughout Hawaii,” event organizer Imai Winchester said.

According to the Hawaii state archives, in 1843 Captain George Paulet, without permission from the British Government, ceased control of the Hawaiian Islands due to a misunderstanding. Kamehameha III was restored to the throne on July 31 of 1843 through the actions of Admiral Richard Thomas.

“King Kamehameha III ensured that he was kupaa,” attendee Tatiana Tseu-Fox said. “That he was in his understanding of what was pono and that’s why we have days like this because of him in 1843 where the saying Ua Mau ke Ea o ka Aina i ka Pono, that yes the life of our land was returned because it was the pono thing to do,” said Tseu-Fox.

It’s a lesson that the many keiki in attendance can take with them.

“So in today’s time, we have to ask ourselves what is pono? And how do we ensure we teach our keiki what is pono, that we educate them so that when they become adults they choose what is pono,” Tseu-Fox said.

According to Winchester, there is also a chance to look back at the past as a guide for what’s to come.

Check out what’s going on around the nation on our National News page

“Our history is a part of our identity and our identity is critical for us to reclaim and understand so we have a firmer foundation from which to really drive into the future,” Winchester said.