The People’s Prince is celebrated annually on Prince Kuhio Day on March 26. Prince Kuhio was a Hawaiian prince and advocated for the rights of his people. He was mainly known for the Hawaiian Homes Act, and the initiation of the bill to make Hawaii an official state of the United States.
History of Prince Kuhio Day
Jonah Kūhiō Kalanianaʻole was a prince of the Kingdom of Hawaiʻi until 1893 when it was overthrown by a coalition of American and European businessmen. He later went on to become a representative in the Territory of Hawaii as a delegate to the United States Congress, and as such is the only member of Congress ever born into royalty.
Prince Kuhio, as he’s usually called, was also named the Prince of the People, and is well known for his efforts to preserve and strengthen the Hawaiian people. He was born on March 26, 1871, and was named heir after being adopted by his maternal aunt, Queen Liliuokalani in 1884. He studied in California and at the Royal Agricultural College in England, and was 24 years old when he joined the Royalist uprising against the new republic in 1895, eventually leading to his capture and conviction of treason.
On September 1, 1902, Kuhio decided to join the Republican Party and was nominated as their candidate for Congress. Kūhiō was then elected delegate to the U.S. Congress as a Republican, winning 10 consecutive elections thereafter.
In 1918, Kuhio founded the first Hawaiian Civic Club and facilitated the passing of the women’s suffrage bill alongside New England suffragist Almira Hollander Pitman, and in 1919, he introduced the first-ever Hawaii Statehood Act. In 1920 he pushed forward a bill to provide homesteads for native Hawaiians, the Hawaiian Homes Commission Act, and it was passed in 1921. He also introduced another bill to make Hawaii a fully-fledged state, and it became the 50th state in 1959.
Kūhiō died on January 7, 1922, and a holiday was created to honor him in 1949. Prince Kuhio Day is now celebrated annually on his birthday, March 26. As part of his legacy, the Hawaiiian Civic Club offers numerous scholarships for Native Hawaiian students.
Prince Kuhio Day timeline
Jonah Kūhiō Kalanianaʻole is born on March 26.
Queen Liliuokalani adopts Kūhio, making him prince and heir to the throne.
Kuhio decided to join the Republican Party and is nominated as their candidate for Congress on September 1.
The Hawaiian Homes Commission Act is passed after being introduced by Prince Kuhio the previous year.
Prince Kuhio Day FAQs
Is Prince Kuhio Day a state holiday?
Prince Jonah Kuhio Kalanianaole Day is an official state holiday, observed annually on March 26.
When did Prince Kuhio die?
Kūhiō died on January 7, 1922, on the island of Oʻahu.
Why is Prince Kuhio Day important?
Prince Kuhio Day honors the life of Prince Jonah Kūhiō Kalaniana’ole and his many accomplishments in the service of his people and the Hawaiian Islands.
How to Observe Prince Kuhio Day
Learn about him
There is still so much more to learn about Prince Kuhio, his fight for justice, and the creation of this day. Use today to do some research and learn all you can about the people's prince.
Enjoy a festival
The people of Hawaii take this day as a public holiday, organizing parades and festivals to commemorate it. If you find yourself in the state at this time, make sure you attend one of the parades and mingle with the locals.
Attend a service at the burial grounds
Many people commemorate Prince Kuhio Day by attending special services at Oahu’s Royal Mausoleum, where Prince Kuhio is buried. See the heritage, and learn more about the prince by attending a special service.
5 Things You Didn’t Know About Prince Kuhio
He was the last Prince of Hawaii
After Kuhio became prince, there was a monarchy overthrow that brought in a government, leaving no room for royals.
He fought a war in South Africa
While visiting Africa, Kūhiō joined forces with the British Army in the Second Boer War, which they won.
One of the first surfers in California
Prince Kuhio and his brothers paved the way for the surfing sport while schooling in California.
An alma mater of President Obama’s school
In his time, it was called O’ahu College, but the name was changed to Punahou by the time the president enrolled.
He had a men’s club
Kūhiō reportedly rented an apartment in Washington, D.C., which he decorated with hunting trophies from Africa, calling it the Bird’s Nest, his men’s club.
Why Prince Kuhio Day is Important
Everyone’s rights are important
Prince Kuhio fought for the rights of the people of Hawaii. This day is a commemoration of him and his fierce advocacy, which highlights the importance of fighting for what is right.
It sets an example
Prince Kuhio Day is proof of the power of doing good and standing for what’s right. The prince’s honest legacy ensures he’ll be remembered as one of the greatest leaders in Hawaii. Doing the right thing goes a long way.
It’s monumental to the citizens of Hawaii
Prince Kuhio was responsible for initiating that Hawaii became an official state of the United States. He also passed several bills that eased the lives of the Hawaiian people. He has been very monumental in the history of Hawaii, and this day honors that.
Prince Kuhio Day dates