King Kamehameha Day, a pretty big deal in Hawaii, falls on June 11 and celebrates the accomplishments of “Kamehameha the Great.” He’s credited with uniting the Hawaiian Islands in 1810. A highly revered leader, Kamehameha is honored each year with numerous celebrations across the islands. Downtown Honolulu hosts one such celebration, where hundreds of leis, at least 30 feet long, are draped over the a 15-foot statue of the celebrated ruler. Other celebrations include parades, a plethora of floral arrangements and, of course, the traditional Hawaiian hula.
King Kamehameha Day timeline
There's a movie in the works
"The Rock" will be starring as "The King" with shooting starting some time in 2020.
- June 11, 1872
The first "King Kamehameha Day" was celebrated
Kamehameha the Great's great-grandson, Kamehameha V, passed a royal decree in 1871 in support of a celebration. That was really great of the great-grandson to honor his great-grandfather Kamehameha the Great.
Kamehameha takes rule
Following the death of his uncle, King Kalani'opu'u, Kamehameha and the deceased king's own son wound up as rivals. After some disagreement between the men and his cousin's eventual death, Kamehameha quickly inherited the kingship.
Kamehameha is born
This coincides with the appearance of Hailey's Comet in the Hawaiian skies, which led to the prophecy that he would become a great leader.
King Kamehameha Day Activities
Try pronouncing his full name
Here ya go, I dare you — "Kalani Paiʻea Wohi o Kaleikini Kealiʻikui Kamehameha o ʻIolani i Kaiwikapu kauʻi Ka Liholiho Kūnuiākea."
Visit all six King Kamehameha statues
Yeah, probably can't do all this on the actual day. They're spread across the U.S. with four on the islands, another in Las Vegas, and the sixth in Washington, DC. BUT, it could be fun to start planning trips to all those spots.
Craft your own lei
It's June, the weather is nice (in most spots) and flowers are blooming. Why not honor King Kamehameha at home? May be tough to knock out a 30-footer in a day, but a nice string of flowers couldn't hurt your mood.
4 Hawaii-esque Things We Could Not Live Without
Good for eating, making rope and obviously for bathing suit tops.
Excellent for picking out your loudest, most un-Hawaiian uncle at family reunions.
Wonderful for kids' Halloween costumes and pretending you actually have good hip movement.
A beautiful symbol of welcoming, or the start of a joke — the end of which you probably don't want to hear.
Why We Love King Kamehameha Day
The beautiful celebrations
Parades, floats, bands, and thousands of flowers make this holiday something to behold for all the senses. Hawaiians knows how to honor their first king.
A fun history lesson
Not everyone realizes that the beautiful islands were once in conflict with each other. As the first ruler of the Kingdom of Hawaii, King Kamehameha united the islands and set up trade with Europe and the U.S. Hawaii officially became the 50th US state in 1959.
His family life was — interesting
Reports tally the great king's wife count between 21 and 30 and his offspring at somewhere around 35. Was he making sure he had a solid heir in there somewhere? Smart guy.