HONOLULU (KHON2) – It was in 1810, which is 212 years ago, when King Kamehameha I unified the Hawaiian archipelago into what became the Hawaiian Kingdom. 

This year, we’re celebrating 150 years of the king’s holiday, King Kamehameha Day.

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And to find out more, we are here with the Chair of the King Kamehameha Celebration Commission, Kainoa Daines. 

KHON2 asked Kainoa to tell us a little bit about what is taking place this Friday leading into the holiday tomorrow?

“What is taking place is that we’re having events after two years, first of all,” said Daines.

Daines continued to explain:

“So, we haven’t had a proper lei draping since 2019. We haven’t had parades since 2019, so we are so glad to be back doing this full-on. Very shortly, the Royal Hawaiian Band will be showing up, we have all the lei. The lei plumeria will be going up on the arms. We have everyone just gathering, being together once again and it’s wonderful.  And again, 150th anniversary of the holiday.  I’m so glad we can do this. And tomorrow, we have a parade right here in Honolulu. The 105th parade starting right here at ʻIolani Palace, making its way down to Kapiʻolani park. So be mindful of traffic tomorrow morning, the parade starts at 9 a.m. and as it makes its way through, the streets close about an hour/half-hour before so just be careful, you may be locked in. It’s not my problem. So, we have event also on the neighbor islands. We had Molokaʻi last week. This weekend, we have Kauaʻi, we have Kona. Hilo has their lei draping tonight. Kohala is blowing it up tomorrow as they do every year. And then next week is Maui, so we really representing the pae ʻāina that Kamehameha unified, as you said, 212 years ago.”

KHON2 asked how did this holiday come about? When did this start?

“So back in 1870s, the people of Hawaiʻi wanted to celebrate King Kamehameha V on his birthday, Dec. 11,” said Daines.

“Being the humble king that he was, he said, ‘No, no. Let’s not honor me. Let’s honor my grandfather and the father of our nation.'” And so, he pushed the date as far away from Dec. 11 as you could, so we have the arbitrary date of June 11 now. So, for everyone, it’s not his birthday — Kamehameha’s birthday. We didn’t have a calendar back when he was born, but June 11 became that day. So, Dec. 22, 1871, Lot Kapuāiwa (Kamehameha V) declares this holiday, so June 11, 1872 is the very first one.  Here we are 150 years later.”

KHON2 then asked what can we expect in the future — in the next 150 years?

“Yeah, so I’ll probably still be here sweating in the hot sun of Honolulu,” said Daines.

“The watermark might be little higher up by then. My hope is that it will still be here, that we’re still remembering this man that unified us, that brought us together through war and battle. I get that part, but from that came peace. In recorded history, I believe he is the first time in our islands that we were together as one place. And that’s a beautiful thing, so I hope that we continue to remember this legacy which is why we gather every June 11 to do this and honor him so that our keiki and their keiki continue to do the same.”

Again, a lot of festivities taking place. 

Friday was a kickoff for this weekend’s celebrations. 

The parade on Saturday in Honolulu will start at 9 a.m.

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