Hawaiian Shirt Day is celebrated on the third Friday in August and this year, the day falls on August 18. The celebration marks the official day that Hawaii joined the U.S., making it the fiftieth state in the U.S.A. The day commemorates a long-standing effort to gain statehood for the nation of Hawaii and is also celebrated as National Statehood Day on the island. Hawaii was annexed by the U.S. in the 1800s and for a long time was a territory of the US, its inclusion in the U.S. has since transformed the island, often being punted in massive Hollywood films, Hawaii is the perfect tropical destination for families and thrill-seekers.
History of Hawaiian Shirt Day
The islands of Hawaii lie in a strategic location 2,000 miles from the U.S. mainland in the Pacific Ocean. It is the only state outside the Western U.S. and the only state in the tropics. Made up of eight individual islands, Hawaiʻi, Maui, Kahoʻolawe, Lānaʻi, Molokaʻi, Oʻahu, Kauaʻi, and Niʻihau, Hawaii is home to around 1.5 million Americans.
British Explorer, Captain James Cook, was the first European to visit the islands of Hawaii, the first outside contact the island had experienced in about 500 years. The rich history of Hawaii for the west was forged at that meeting and subsequently led to the island holding a key strategic value for the American government.
Hawaii sits between the U.S. and Japan, and an influx of Japanese immigrants and the rise of Japanese imperialism caused the U.S. to view Japan as a threat, to be monitored with caution. As more and more Japanese migrants came to the islands to work in the sugar trade, the number of Japanese settlers left U.S. officials afraid that the island may become a Japanese territory. The U.S. responded by very quickly bringing Hawaii into the fold, and prepared to annex it in 1893. The U.S.-supported coup on the island of Hawaii led to the overthrow of the Hawaiian Royal Family, with the queen being placed under house arrest and the island for a short time became the Republic of Hawaii. In 1959, after much struggle, Hawaii was awarded statehood, and united with the rest of the American States.
Hawaiian Shirt Day timeline
Its believed that Polynesians migrated to the islands of Hawaii in the first century and continued to do so up until around 1100 A.D.
The first contact made with society outside of Hawaii, and the first known contact with natives of Hawaii, Captain James Cook discovers the islands.
Japanese migration to Hawaii begins, and the American government moves to neutralize the threat.
The island of Hawaii is immortalized across the U.S. as it suffers a devastating surprise attack from the Japanese Navy, prompting the U.S. to step into WWII.
Hawaiian Shirt Day FAQs
Can I wear flip-flops on Hawaiian Shirt Day too?
Check with your place of work, but generally, it’s a casual day for the office, and go nuts when you get home.
Do Hawaiians celebrate the day too?
Every Friday in Hawaii is Aloha Shirt Day.
Do I have to wear a Hawaiian shirt?
Yes, that’s the point of the celebration.
Hawaiian Shirt Day Activities
Wear Aloha Shirts
Get yourself a groovy Hawaiian Shirt, you can wear it yearly to celebrate Hawaiian Shirt Day.
Host a Hawaiin-themed party
Pull your resources together and throw a party. Everyone is bound to enjoy a Hawaiian-themed party. Just be sure you nail the decor.
The fun does not have to start after work. Get your entire team behind Hawaiian Shirt Day and have a relaxed, and fun day at work.
5 Facts About Hawaii
Hawaiian shirts are also known as Aloha shirts.
Hawaiian Shirts were super popular
In the 1930s Hawaiian shirts were so popular that the industry was worth over $600,000 annually, that’s over $10 million today.
It’s in the middle of nowhere
Hawaii is the most isolated, populated location on earth.
It has coffee
Hawaii is the only U.S. state that grows coffee.
It is high in the mountains
The Hawaiian Islands are just the tops of an enormous projecting mountain range, the biggest in the world.
Why We Love Hawaiian Shirt Day
It's a reason to have fun
Come on, put on those bright-colored flowery shirts and everything else that goes with this celebration. Have a blast.!
It acknowledges an important U.S. state
The U.S. holds Hawaii quite close to its heart. Being at the center of a devastating attack during WWII, Hawaii played its part in making the U.S. what it is today.
I’ts a time for family
The spirit of Hawaii is centered around family. Celebrating National Hawaain Shirt Day is also about connecting with your loved ones.
Hawaiian Shirt Day dates